David Weir: Weirwolf of London is still hungry for records

 

Athletics Correspondent

How do you follow London 2012? It’s a quandary that has bedevilled the likes of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Bradley Wiggins and David Weir.

While Ennis-Hill has had injury to contend with and Wiggins paints the picture of being somewhat tormented by his loss of form and fitness last year, Weir appears to have taken the step back from the competition limelight in his stride.

As majestic as the four-time London gold medallist was during nine heady days in September 2012, behind the scenes the 34-year-old has habitually been a worrier, fretting about niggles, his own form and fitness and the capabilities of his rivals.

But it is amazing what a quartet of golds draped around your neck can do, Weir claiming this is the happiest he has ever been in his skin as he prepares to return to competition on British soil in tomorrow’s Silverstone Half Marathon.

“I know there’s nothing left to prove,” says the wheelchair racer, who in the wake of London packed up his racing lycra, took four months off and enjoyed his moment of glory.

There was an attempt to win a seventh London Marathon title last year – he is currently tied for the record on six with Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson – but, with so few weeks of training in his arms, he understandably faltered home in a disappointing fifth place.

At the time, he was, he admits, “gutted” but reflecting later he realised it was no bad thing, that he had been right to take time off with his girlfriend Emily, his daughter Ronie and the couple’s two children Mason and Tillia.

Looking back, he says: “2013 wasn’t about times and medals, it was about recovery from 2012, not just 2012 but the years building up to it. I expected mentally to feel like that with the amount of major championships I’d done. I had to stop, there was no choice.”

But Weir is now back and it was on the streets of Sydney on 26 January that the Weirwolf officially marked the recapture of his best 2012 form. Of course, there had previously been a win at the London Anniversary Games, as well as the Great North Run in the latter part of the 2013 season, but Weir knows that it was while basking in the Australian sunshine in the Sydney 10k that he was properly back.

The irony is not lost on the proud Brit that the victory was delivered on Australia Day over Australian rival Kurt Fearnley – “we’ve not done that well in Australia in sport recently,” he says deadpan.

“Josh Cassidy [one of his main rivals] said to me it’s the best shape he’s ever seen me in in January but I didn’t believe it until we raced,” he says. “Mentally and physically, right now is the best I’ve felt since London 2012. It’s nice to get the hunger and confidence back.”

But where does the hunger stem from exactly for an athlete who admits he has nothing else left to prove? He has a myriad of career goals left, not least the next Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

“I’ll 100 per cent be in Rio,” he says without even a modicum of doubt in his voice. “I don’t know what events I’ll do – it’ll be good to do all four again [the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the marathon] but I don’t know what sort of shape or form I’ll be in.

“But it’s not just that. There’s lots of stuff still to do on my CV. I want that seventh London Marathon title, I also want to win the Boston Marathon this year. I know that’d mean winning both marathons in the space of the week but I believe I can do it.

“It’s a big year on the track too. I want that British record for the 10k - I want all those records, I want world records, too. I’ve got races in Switzerland and then there’s the Commonwealth Games where I’ll go in the 1500m. I know I’m not getting any younger but I’ve still got the top speed to match Marcel Hug [his Swiss rival] and he’s 27. That makes me happy. I still don’t think I’ve peaked as an athlete.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Experienced Cover Supervisor

£12000 - £14400 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Experienced Cover Supervisor...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Account Manager

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are proud to be on...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project