899On A Wing And A Prayer

On A Wing And A Prayer

MR8-20Team GB speedster Harry Aikines-Aryeetey on tattoos, jogging with his dog and why Lionel Messi’s footy career could soon be over.

I first knew I wanted to run

when I saw Mark Lewis-Francis run 9.97secs at the 2001 Edmonton World Championships, even though they eventually said the wind gauge was faulty. Then I saw Maurice Greene’s swagger in the final that year. I’m not tall, but I’m taller than him. He’s muscular and an explosive runner and he’s run 9.70secs, and that’s what I want to do.

I have had some long-term injuries in recent years.

When I’m injured I look for inspiration, so last year I looked to Muhummad Ali, watching movies and documentaries on him and about his life. His fire and pep were remarkable, he motivates and inspires me.

I am a big guy but I’m doing more jogging now.

If I don’t need all the size for my running then I might as well see what I can shift. Just by jogging and sweating more it should tell my body what it does and doesn’t need. I still want to keep my strength and my inherent explosive power, but it’s good to start looking at things in a different way.

Most of my medals are in a display cabinet at my mum’s.

I keep a couple up in Loughborough just to remind me of where I’ve been and what I want. It’s not good to dwell on the past too much, but nice to dwell on good feelings.

I am a huge gadget fan.

If you looked in my bag right now you’d see an Archos multimedia tablet with 5in HD screen and 500GB memory, my iPhone, iTouch, iPod and my Gameboy 3DS.

I can play Football Manager all day long.

I’m a Man Utd fan, but I play as Crystal Palace - which is quite a challenge. I play it too much, I’m in year 2022, Wayne Rooney is 35, Palace have won the Champions League and I’ve got Cristiano Ronaldo in my squad. He’s 37 and still good. Lionel Messi is finished, though. I love FIFA 11 as well. If you ran a competition in Men’s Running I would take anyone on!

I live alone with my Weimeraner, Poppy.

I do try to run with her, but when I do she looks at me as if to say: ‘Is that it?’ She loves it, I ride my bike with her for a good three miles and then she’ll still have her walk at the end, she just gallops. She’s a pleasure to have.

If I wasn’t a sprinter I think I’d be a food taster.

I’m a good cook. I’m good at seasoning meat, so if you came round for dinner it’d be scallops to start, some meat with homemade chips or rice, some side salad and veg. I’m good at puddings as well, I make a nice chocolate fondant. Job done.

I subscribe to the words of Muhammad Ali: “The man who has no imagination has no wings”.

I’ve got a tattoo of wings across my back and my mental image in my mind is me winning the Olympic gold. I’ve stayed away from the 2012 Olympic stadium on purpose. I just want to wait, see it when it’s finished, when it’s ‘go’ time.Harry Aikines-Aryeetey was speaking at an exclusive event at Niketown London to celebrate the launch of the Nike Free Run+2 on NIKEiD.com

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