Oli Meets Tim Prendergast
- Wed 4th Jan '12
Music-mad runner Tim Prendergast is counting down the days to the London Paralympics by listening to his favourite 2,012 songs!
The partially blind athlete has compiled a chart of his top tunes and will run down the entire list, playing his Number One before the 1,500m final on September 4.
‘Vertigo’ by U2 (straight in at No. 2,012) kicked off Tim’s playlist on New Year’s Day, 248 days before the New Zealander hopes to claim his second Paralympic gold.
“It’s fair to say I’m into my music,” says London-based Tim, who has lost 95 per cent of his sight, “so listening to all those songs in the build up to the Paralympics will be a huge inspiration.
“If all goes to plan I’ll listen to my top 10 just before I start my warm up for the final and hopefully that will give me the crucial extra edge and motivation I need.”
Tim, whose 1,500m personal best is three minutes 51 seconds, will run 70 miles a week for the next month before flying to his native New Zealand to push his case for Paralympic selection.
The 32-year-old will compete against fully-sighted athletes at three Paralympic-sanctioned events – the Auckland Championships, the New Zealand National Championships and the Victorian Championships, in Melbourne – in a bid to catch the selectors’ eye.
He has developed a new appreciation for running after suffering from Achilles Tendinopathy last year and, with training at Maida Vale’s Paddington Recreation Ground going well, Tim is more determined than ever to participate at what he calls a ‘home’ Games.
“I’ve been back in full training for a good three months now and have been able to do some long burn, endurance work on the track,” he says.
“Achilles injuries are very temperamental, so last summer it was a case of taking small steps and looking at the bigger picture rather than trying to race.
“It’s paying off because I’ve been feeling very, very fit recently and looking back at my training logs I’m pretty much where I usually am nine months before a major competition.”
Tim claimed silver over 800m and 1,500m at the Sydney Paralympics, before winning the gold medal in the T13 800m at his second Games, in Athens.
He could not repeat the feat at Beijing 2008 but the Sky Sports Living for Sport Mentor feels that disappointment has made him a more rounded character.
“Going from the ultimate high of winning in Athens to the lows of Beijing has helped me to appreciate how important experience of all kinds is,” he says. “I feel more balanced and mentally strong as a result.
“Everyone experiences obstacles and bumps along the road. On my school visits I explain what I have achieved but also how important it is to be resilient when things aren’t going so well.
“At the age of eight I had the world at my feet but then I started to lose my sight and now when I look straight ahead I have a big blind spot, so I have to rely on my peripheral vision to avoid obstacles.
“It is intuition – a sixth sense that comes from almost 20 years of running. I can count five accidents that can be directly attributed to my blindness where I’ve come out second best but I can recite 500 really close calls where I nearly collided with someone and it could have been so much worse!
“I try to encourage kids to use their peripheral vision in my school sessions to illustrate that there are many different ways to tackle any obstacles they might come across.”
Find out about Teignmouth Community School's Sky Academy experience, alongside Sky Academy Ambassador Darren Campbell and Senior Athlete Mentor Steve Brown
Read all about Thierry Henry's Sky Sports Living for Sport confidence-building session with 15 students from Chobham Academy on Tuesday 27 October
300 students from 12 secondary schools across the UK took part in the Sky Academy Confidence Day with Jessica Ennis-Hill on Thursday 22 October.
Read all about it here.
Watch an interview with Sky Sports Living for Sport Athlete Mentor Serita Shone who says young girls must be encouraged to participate in sport not just for health reasons but also because of the life skills it teaches them