Thomas Barr is revelling as a full-time athlete and has his sights on a medal at the European Championships this summer, writes Niall Hugh in Fast Running.
He never even imagined he would even be an Olympian, but since that unforgettable fourth-place finish, just 0.05 off bronze, at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Thomas Barr’s life has been transformed and he now finds himself as the poster boy of athletics in Ireland, that youngsters and aspiring athletes look to and idolise.
Thomas also finished up his studies in 2016 and lives the life of a full-time athlete now – training takes the number one priority, the reason to get up in the morning, and the paramount aspect of the day that everything else is moulded around.
He said: “Thanks to sponsors like Affidea, who I recently launched the Rock ’n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon with, I can train full-time.”
After a consistent period of training, injury free and a few “fun” indoor races to break up winter training, he’s ready to hit the outdoor circuit for race practice ahead of targeting a first major medal.
First up is the Diamond League in Doha in late May and after that he hopes to be invited to compete in further Diamond League meets.
“You are up against the best guys in the world which is perfect ahead of a major championship,” he says. “If I am fully fit come the summer, there is no reason why I can’t be challenging for a medal. I know that it will be tough because some of the best 400m hurdlers in the world at the moment are European. It will be hard fought for anyone who wins a medal in the 400m hurdles in Berlin. It’s good though, because it means if I come away with something it’s well earned against top competition.”