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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Barrow runner Dean upping the ante for London 2012

MIDDLE-DISTANCE runner Dean Miller’s preparations for the London Paralympics continue to gather pace.

The 22-year-old, who is ranked second in the world for 1500m in the T37 cerebral palsy category, expects to be told on July 8/9 if he has made the Great Britain team.

A genuine medal contender, Miller’s chances of competing in London – possibly in a 1500m and 800m double – look strong and in the meantime he continues to try and better his personal best time for the three and three-quarter lap event.

“I ran 4:20, my second ever fastest, for 1500m at the London Disability Grand Prix in the Olympic Stadium earlier this month and then 4:21 at an open meet in Trafford,” said the Barrow and Furness Striders ace, who is now based in Birmingham.

“It is a bit frustrating because I’m still to get under the 4:18 personal best I ran in June last year.

“But I’m running well, feeling good and confident of bettering that time soon.

“I did a lot of mileage at altitude in the Pyrenees prior to the race in the Olympic Stadium, so right now I’m working on sharpening up. I’m doing plenty of 800m reps in training and feeling quicker all the time.

“Last year I ran that 4:18 but the rest of my times were way outside 4:20.

“Now I’m regularly running 4:20 and feel on the cusp of achieving a faster time.”

Miller, who was set to race over 1500m at another meet in Trafford last night, continues to train alongside other elite athletes under top coach Bud Baldaro.

And having last year graduated with a degree in sport, physical education and coaching science, he has now found himself as something of a poster boy for Birmingham University.

“There is a national marketing campaign called Birmingham Heroes and it’s aimed at promoting the university,” said Miller.

“We’ve done photo shoots and interviews and I’m told that as part of the campaign there will be moving images of me in places like London Underground stations.”

That’s not to suggest that Miller has forgotten his roots – far from it.

Born, bred and proud to be from Barrow, he returned home to visit family just last week and while in South Cumbria gave a little bit back to the community.

“I was invited up to John Ruskin School in Coniston and took an assembly with the kids,” he said.

“I talked about running and educated them a bit in the Paralympics.

“Me and my dad (Striders running coach Pat) then took a couple of PE lessons and did a bit of a question and answer session. It was a really good experience and hopefully it will have helped the school and Striders build links.”

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