Michael with his friend Joe
With the excitement of Christmas and New Year gone along with the festive snow, a new lease of life was breathed into my role as Head Athletics & Multi-Skills coach of Special Olympics Richmond (SOR).
Altering the time from 9.30 on a Sunday morning to 1.30 in the afternoon brought a breadth of new athletes and volunteers into the fold. In addition to the time change, clever thinking and lots of hard work in publicising our Sunday sessions resulted in an influx of new athletes and volunteers attending training on Sundays.
The new, even more dynamic Special Olympics Richmond is very proud to boast vast amounts of talent, both with regards to volunteering and to participation.
With a number of new athletes showing great potential to compete in Special Olympics competition across a variety of levels, I and the team are hoping to enter athletes in the National Indoor Championships in Cardiff on March 27 & 28. This will be the first competition for us since we started training sessions in January 2009.
As well as my work with Special Olympics Richmond, the organisation of an event in memory of my good friend Joe Allen has also picked up momentum.
Joe sadly passed away from a brain tumour in March last year and with the help of Bexley A.C. (of which we were both members), we set about organising an event to raise money for paediatric brain tumour research at the Royal Marsden hospital in Sutton, where Joe had been treated during his illness.
As Joe was such a talented 1500 metre runner, it was decided that a mile would be held in his memory.
The event is to be held at Erith stadium on the 21st of March with the time to be announced within the next week and we welcome everyone who would like to take part by running, jogging, or walking.
As I am in my last semester, the next few months are looking busy, but with all the help and support I'm receiving from friends, family and colleagues, I'm hoping it will be my most productive semester since starting St Mary's in September 2007.