THIS time last year, Wallsend’s Ross Murray was eyeing up a career as a holiday rep. Now, he’s planning a trip to London after booking an Olympic place at trials in Birmingham.
After falling out of love with the sport and, by his own admission, preferring the nightlife of a student, Murray was overweight, utterly out of contention for London 2012 and weighing up a drastic career change.
However, at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham at the weekend, Murray put the icing on the cake of a breakthrough 2012 season by sealing Olympic selection in the 1500m.
By running the required London 2012 A standard ahead of the trip to the second city, the 21-year-old knew a top-two finish at the Aviva 2012 Trials would send him to London.
And, despite being pipped by British 1500m stalwart Andy Baddeley late on in the race, that is exactly what he did, allowing the rookie to contemplate an Olympic summer.
“I am absolutely buzzing that I am going to the games,” he said.
“I definitely wouldn’t have believed it at the start of the year, but as the year has gone on, I have improved with every race, and my performances have improved.
“Then I thought ‘I can do this, I can do this’, and so to have done it is great.
“This time last year, I think everybody knows I was overweight and not running properly and doing a lot of other things with my life.
“I was just being a normal student, so my life has changed massively. Within the space of about five weeks, I have gone from being a nobody to going to London.”
Having led for much of the race, Murray clocked 3:48.20 minutes to finish second to Baddeley in Birmingham, and, at just 21, Murray has the potential to make London 2012 the first games of a lengthy Olympic career.
However, he is adamant he won’t be heading to the capital on a sightseeing brief.
“Anything can happen now at the Olympics, within reason,” he added.
“I am not going in there planning to be just another guy in the heat now.
“I have run the time, so I am good enough to be there, and I am going to give it everything and get some good training in between now and then.
“The crowd really got behind me in the final, and it was amazing to see so many people cheering us on.”
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