Running is in Mike Brannigan’s blood. This September he’ll run for USA.
The 2016 Rio Olympics might be over but for some, the games have just begun. Mike aka “Mikey” Brannigan, 19, is one of the fastest runners in the world yet his journey was not a simple one. Mike was diagnosed with autism at an early age and was not able to speak unless prompted until he was 6 years old. Yet this didn’t stop him from chasing after his dreams of running for an olympic gold medal.
In 2014, when he was a high school senior and started to gain national attention, an NBC reporter asked Mikey if autism made him a better runner. He simply responded by stating that,
“ [Autism] makes me a better person.”
Mike showed how he was a better person by clocking in a 4-minute mile and was one of the nation’s fastest high school runners. After graduating high school, Mike was a highly sought after athlete and was recruited by over 200 different universities, including but not limited to Duke, Georgetown, Wisconsin, and Stanford. Unfortunately, he was not able to meet the academic requirements to run in the Division I level. Yet this did not stop him.
Due to his perseverance and dedication, Mikey was able to win gold in the men’s’ 1,500-meter T20 at the International Paralympics Committee Athletics World Championship in Dona, Qatar. A few months before this event, Mike actually broke his own personal record and ran a mile in 3:57:58, making him the first ever T20-classified athlete to break a 4-minute mile.
Yet he hasn’t stopped there. Mike currently attends community college and runs for the New York Athletic Club, with support from Team USA. Team USA is hoping to have Mike Brannigan compete in the 2020 or 2024 Olympic Games. For now Mike will be competing in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio this September!
Go for the gold Mike!!!
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