The last few months have been a whirlwind for Mark English, a medicine student and Ad Astra scholar in UCD. Last August at the European Outdoor Athletics Championships, he made everyone sit up and take notice, as he held his own in a very dominant 800 metre field, to take a bronze medal and from there the 21-year-old Donegal man has gone from strength to strength.
Given his success last year, English was hungrier than ever to get back on the track again and give his current form, this month’s Indoor Championships in Prague couldn’t have come at a better time for him. Again, English was immersed in a field of highly competitive 800 metre runners, but managed to fend off a late surge by Dutch athlete Thijmen Kupers, to take the silver medal in the final, behind Polish runner Marcin Lewandowski. English had to dig deep to take the silver medal, as it was Kupers who was probing behind favourite Lewandowski at the bell on the final lap.
English noted that “I just had to bide my time. I don’t know where it came from but I just had this big well of energy over the last 150 metres, I think that’s down to the training I’m doing.” He also contrasted the two medals, between this one in Prague and last year’s bronze in Zurich. He said booth were equally special but that they were different because here he was coming in with a level of expectation, whereas in Switzerland here was a complete outsider. He therefore finished that “it’s nice to know going into Beijing (World Championships) this summer that I can still perform when there is that bit of expectation there.”
With English now really stamping his authority in the world of middle-distance running, the Letterkenny man will be eager to once again get back on the track in Beijing, and will hope to continue this great form, and bring home another medal in the summer.