By Ben Hart, Sportsbeat
Marathon runner Jonny Mellor is all in for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer, with a chance for redemption after a series of frustrating setbacks.
The 2022 Manchester Marathon winner dropped out of the 10,000m at Glasgow 2014, was overlooked for selection for Gold Coast 2018 and suffered a freak injury just before Tokyo Olympic trials.
And the 35-year-old, who only started marathon running in 2015, is thrilled to finally get the chance to compete at a multi-sport Games.
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Speaking at the Team England Kitting Out day, the Birkenhead-born athlete said that Birmingham is his sole priority this year, confirming he will not be going to the European Championships.
Mellor said: “I want to give the Commonwealth’s my all and I’m not going to run the London Marathon because I want to give myself the best possible chance with the Olympics coming along quick again.
“A good result at the Commonwealth Games would 100% give me that confidence that I can qualify.
Mellor was the fastest man in Britain in 2020, but a gout-related ankle injury derailed his Olympic trials preparation.
“It was disappointing not to get the chance to compete for a place on the team, especially with having the qualifying time,” said Mellor.
“But the Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport Games and the first home Games since London, it’s really exciting to be part of that.
“In 2014 I dropped out of the 10,000m, which obviously was one of the most disappointing races of my whole career, so I feel like there’s a lot of unfinished business for the Commonwealths.
“But equally, I’m not putting that pressure on myself. I want to go and enjoy it as well, not necessarily looking back but forwards.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 400 athletes, and having secured his place on the squad, Mellor is looking to capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity for medal success in his home country.
And with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Mellor hopes sharing his story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.
Mellor has a background in track racing, and only started pursuing running earnestly when he was made redundant from his job assisting a building site manager in Liverpool.
He studied building and surveying at university and looking back Mellor admits it wasn’t the best decision.
“Everything happens for a reason, but I regret doing that now. But at the time we didn’t have London 2012 so there weren’t many jobs in sport and construction was obviously flying.
“It wasn’t good for training. I had to squeeze a quick run in on my lunch break. They used to call me Mo Farah on the site.
“Starting out doing labouring work, it wasn’t good for performance. I was kind of glad to be honest when I got made redundant.
“It meant that I had no excuse then but to focus on running.”
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