My name is Mick, Mick B. I’m the Centre Manager at the Lee Valley Athletic Centre. It basically means I, I guess I’m in charge. So, I tell everybody else what to do. There’s normally a sort of few jobs that need to be done. General planning ahead. A sort of check sheet of things that need to be done which gets added to everyday and I try and cross ’em off as quickly as they get added really. I’ve been here 2-1/2 years. So, I was here nine months before it opened. So, I was involved with sort of the last stages of the building project and then getting the building ready to open. 00:00:32 Athletics has always been my passion, if you like and it seemed a great opportunity to combine what I was reasonably good at as a, as a job, in terms of a Manager with, with the sport that I loved. I’ve been running since I guess I was the age eleven. I was very good as a junior. I was English Schools champion in 1977. I love competing. I had a very good coach. You know, I got on very well, good training partners that worked well. Excellent club that I was involved with. So, yeah, athletics was my passion opposed to the sport but also it was my social life really.
00:01:05 Got selected for a Junior International but I got injured at that point and I was out injured with an ankle problem for about three, three and a half years all told. Basically I got bad feet. They’re the wrong shape. High arches, rigid feet as the doctors told me. I spent 3-1/2 years getting to various different doctors. Injections, operations and I was never fully cured. Still at this day I have problems with it. But you persevere and you do what you can really.
00:01:32 It was a lot of hopes comebacks which never happened and, and things like that along the way. It was something I’d always loved and I never wanted to give it up really. I got back to sprinting when I was about 21, twenty-two. I kept that going for about another ten years then retired gracefully when I was about thirty-two. You come to a point when you realize you’re not gonna get any quicker. You’re getting older and it’s time to move on in life. You know, do other things really.
00:01:58 You have to be realistic in where you set those goals, you know. Everybody can be, want to be Olympic champion but there’s only one person who’s gonna get there. You know, you wanna be national champion, county champion, best in your club, best in your training group. Whatever it is when you do sort of look at doing sort of small steps rather than giant leaps I guess really. I got as far as I could get. I wasn’t gonna get any quicker and there was more pressures on my time to do other things. I was trying to coach at the same time as doing my own training and you, you, you realize after a while you’re doing both of them not very well rather than one of them well. So, it was just time to move on really.
00:02:36 At 32 I just got a job managing a local authority leisure centre in Waltham Forest, one of the East London boroughs. I was there for six, seven years and after a while they moved me to one of their other sites in Southeast London. They like to rotate their staff every two years basically, give you a new challenge. They wanted to move me to another site which I didn’t particularly want to go to and this job came up at the same time.
00:00:00 One of the things I, I knew, in athletics if you haven’t got coaches, you haven’t got athletes really. So, we had some big gaps in the throws events and I decided to become a throws coach really. I think I was quite inspired by the person who coached me as well. You know, he was a sort of role model in my life. So, I kinda wanted to replicate some of the things he’d done I guess. I think because of the relationship you, you have with people that you’re able to advise them sometimes where their own parents can’t. That’s quite a responsibility to try and do the right thing at the right time. You just do your, do your best. You know, it’s not something, there’s not a course you can go on to that I don’t think. ENDS