A SUCCESSION of injuries nearly put paid to a South Cumbrian athlete’s career but five years on Chris Thompson is gunning for Olympic glory.
Thompson, 30, a 10,000m runner from Barrow-in-Furness, suffered a serious fracture in his Achilles in 2004 and so began five years of injury hell, from ankle problems through to back and hernia issues.
In 2010 though he transformed his fortunes when a six-month injury-free spell resulted in him taking European Championship silver behind fellow GB star Mo Farah in Barcelona.
He said: “In 2004 I had a serious fracture and from 2005 I was not able to run and I almost never ran again. I had so much weakness in my body but by January 2006 I started to run fast and consistent times.
“I was 23 when the problems hit but they affected my knee and back and it wasn’t until January 2010 I got a full six months of running without injury.”
Thompson’s injury-plagued career continued after Barcelona when he picked up a hernia injury and he ended up missing most of 2011, and the World Championships in Daegu, but his Olympic dream never wavered.
“It has been a long battle to get back to my best but I still managed to get things done to aid my hope of reaching the Olympics,” said Thompson.
“I am grateful to have a second chance in the sport because I really thought I wasn’t going to get to run.
“You have to take every day as it comes. It could go very right or very wrong but you have to put yourself in situations if you are to succeed.”
Thompson moved to Hampshire as a boy, but his family remain in South Cumbria, where he tries to visit when he is in the UK.
Three years ago he moved to Eugene, America, with his partner Jemma Simpson, an 800m GB squad member and he said it has boosted his career as he aims for a top eight finish in the Olympic Stadium.
“It has just been incredible. It feels like I am giving it the best shot I can,” said Thompson.
“I would love to be top eight at the Olympics but if I could be in the top 10 or better I will be happy. If I am within touching distance with two laps to go I will certainly be pushing for a medal though.”
A rigorous training regime sees Thompson tot up 110 miles on the road each week and he said he tries to sleep when he gets an afternoon off.
He added: “If I know I have done everything I can and put all my effort in and I mess it up, then I can handle that. If it goes well then great but if not, I have given it my all.”
Monday: AM - 10 mile run followed by weights session; PM - 5 mile run
Tuesday: AM - Session with hard running up to 10-12km separated by recovery - Total mileage around 14 miles; PM - 5 mile run
Wednesday: AM - 10 mile run followed by weights session; PM - 5 mile run
Thursday: AM - Session of threshold running - no recovery, running hard for around 9 miles - 14 miles total with warm up and warm down; PM - 5 mile run
Friday: AM - 10 mile run; PM - afternoon off
Saturday: AM - Session either hill efforts or long hard efforts - 13 mile total; PM - 5 mile run
Sunday: 15-16 mile run