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John McFall's Beijing Diary

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John McFall
Out of the blocks - a picture of me in action!





29 July 2008



Sprinter John McFall based in Cardiff is one of the 36 athletes that will represent GB at the Paralympics in September. This is second diary since his selection was announced in mid June.




Since I last wrote, I competed at the Welsh Champs in Cardiff at the end of June, a few weeks after selection was announced. It didn’t go as well as I would have hoped, but it was quite early to expect to run too fast. It knocked my confidence a bit, so I sat down with my coach Darrell Maynard and strength and conditioning coach. We looked at what I needed to change, to get the best out of me on the track.


Turning my season around


So, I have been more focussed on speed work, with lighter weights in the gym. I have been doing lots of speed orientated sessions, for example 3 x 30 from the blocks and then flying 4 x 40m or 4 x 50m from rolling starts, with full recovery between the reps. It has been going really well, I’ve been throwing out PBs all over the place.


I know I’ve done all the hard work now, we worked really hard during the winter, so now I’m looking forward to seeing the results. I have got my strength base to work from. I had an encouraging run at the National Champs and Olympic Trials in Birmingham (Ambulant 100m). Although, I did have a bad start, when I drove out of the blocks, I planted my prosthesis on the first step and scuffed the ground, which doesn’t usually happen. I think it is probably because I have become more powerful out of the blocks now.


Season’s best in Birmingham


Anyway, when I got into my running, I still ran a season’s best in 12.81 seconds, faster than my opening race in Holland. So, I could take a lot of positives from that, I demonstrated that I was in good shape.


It was great to catch up with lots of people in Birmingham, I saw some of the other guys compete, hadn’t really seen them since I was out in South Africa training. It was good to catch up with Marilyn Okoro; she had a brilliant run and Christian Malcolm. When I’m training in Cardiff, I often see Christian, but he is between Cardiff and London for training. However we’ve got the same strength and conditioning coach.


Sorting Visas for my trip!


Aside from training, I’ve not been up to much, except for sorting my visas for Mongolia and Russia. You might wonder why, but I have been planning my trip back from Beijing, as I’ve only booked a single ticket to the Paralympics! For a while I have planned a trip across land from China to Mongolia to Russia, across Russia to the Ukraine, then to Hungary, Croatia, along the Dalmatian coast then on the ferry to Italy. I will meet my girlfriend in Rome, then we plan to get the train across Italy, Austria then back to the UK.


I will probably get home around the middle of November, so it will be an exciting trip! I love travelling so it will be a great experience.


Send off in Birmingham


Finally, I should mention the ParalympicsGB Expo last weekend in Birmingham, where everyone got together. I felt really proud to be part of the team; I was very motivated and inspired by the weekend. All the athletes enjoyed the Dinner and chance to meet up, so not long now til the Games.


Now I’m at the airport ready to fly to Germany for a race tomorrow night. I’ll be in touch before my flight to Macau on 27 August.