David Devine finished third in the Paralympic World Cup in New Zealand last year, and the visually impaired middle-distance runner is hoping to improve on that at the Paralympic Games in London later this year.
The man from West Derby in Liverpool started running as a sprinter at Liverpool Harriers three years ago and has gradually increased his distances to run over 800m and 1500m.
Under the guidance of Brian Scobie, Devine ran 1:54.34 over 800m in 2010 but injuries hampered his 2011 season and he was limited to 1:55.66 for 800m and four minutes flat in his first ever 1500m.
He has already bettered his time for the metric mile this year, running 3:57.91 indoors, and is showing the sort of form over longer distances that perhaps makes him favourite to win the middle-distance events in his T12 category at London.
The 20-year-old credits his link up with distance coach Dave Evans, coach to Jonny Mellor amongst others, and a subsequent increase in mileage for his improvement over the last 12 months.
“This year I moved to Dave Evans’ group but I still do my faster sessions with Brian Scobie once a week; it’s a great set up,” he said. “I did 70 miles per week throughout the winter and wintered great doing my first ever 10k in 30:55.”
He continued: “I have a great training group now and my big improvements are definitely due to running such high mileage and staying injury free as well as having such a good group to help push me in sessions when it's getting hard.”
He ran 14:34 over 5000m at a race in Belgium this weekend, evident of his improvements over the longer distances. His progress over 5k and 10k is sure to set him up for imposing runs over his favoured shorter distances on the track.
Devine has the world record in his sights for both 800m and 1500m and is hoping to run times under 1:52 and 3:50 which would grant him both records for his category.
He will attempt to do so over 1500m in Manchester on Tuesday before a disability race in Spain on June 8th but his main aim for the season is clear.
He added: “I hope to bring a Paralympic gold home, two if possible. I’m not putting any pressure on myself though; if it happens it happens and if not, at least I will know I have trained so hard and done everything I could this year.”