Max Burgin is looking for Commonwealth Games glory after a strong season

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·4-min read
Britain's Max Burgin celebrates after winning the men's 800m final. (Action Images via Reuters)
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Halifax's Max Burgin spent the Tokyo 2020 Olympics pondering 'what if?'.

The 20-year-old held the 800m world lead in 2021 before pulling his hamstring a few weeks before Olympic Trials, scuppering his chances of shining on the world stage.

Burgin was left to wonder what might have been as fellow 800m runner and friend Keely Hodgkinson erupted onto the scene with a stunning Olympic silver medal.

But with the title of 2022 British Champion, a new personal best and the 2022 world lead time back under his belt, Burgin is ready to rumble for Team England at the Commonwealth Games.

He said: "I wouldn't say there's trepidation at all, I would say there's a positive feeling. I really see this summer as a chance to stamp my name on the sport and make my mark.

"Obviously I've been held back a bit the past few years now and I feel like I haven't really been able to show how good of an athlete I can be and this is my opportunity.

"I'm hungry and this is my opportunity to show what I can do. It's my first opportunity at a major Championships as well so I'm just excited really.

"Keely's definitely an inspiration from the Games, especially because she came such a long way in the space of a year and it shows what a year can do for you.

"It did in a bittersweet way make me think, maybe if I wasn't injured, may I could have achieved something similar so it's definitely an inspiration."

At the recent Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, Burgin ran a lifetime best of 1.43.52 and sailed to number four in the UK men's all-time 800m rankings behind only Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram and Peter Elliott.

But the University of Leeds history student isn't fazed by his name being ushered alongside a rich heritage of 800m.

Burgin said: "I think it's always a motivating factor really, having these greats of the past to see and to hope to emulate. I suppose in the past few weeks there's been a lot of talk about the three ahead of me in the all-time rankings now.

"And it's motivating to know that there's levels to get to.

“I don't think I've ever met Seb Coe, I've met Steve Cram a few times. He coaches a few of the athletes at Leeds where I also train but I suppose never really sought any advice from them.

"I always tried to stick to what I know I'm good at and stick to the advice of my own support group – my dad mainly, my coach and I think it's worked out so well so far."

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 400 athletes in total, and having secured his place on the squad, Burgin is looking to capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity for medal success in his home country.

After a few years away from the sport as a youngster, Burgin was reintroduced to the track during senior school when he went down to Halifax Harriers to be coached by his grandad Brian.

A family affair, the British Champion is now coached by his father Ian and praised the journey they have been on together.

He said: "My parents were a bit concerned that I wasn't really doing enough exercise so they made me go down and my grandad was head coach at the time."

"I started with 800m running because that's what my dad had done when he was younger so it kind of felt natural to try that first before I broke into other events but from the start I could show quite good aptitude for it.

"In my first year of running I think I won every 800 race, I didn't do many but it went to show that I showed talent in that area so I stuck with it and didn't really try any other event.

"I've always been motivated more to just make my dad proud I suppose.

"It's been a bit of a learning experience for both of us because neither of us had any international experience before. So, we're always going into uncharted waters, but I think it's been pretty successful so far."

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