By Jano Tantongco
Mikey Brannigan, a Northport High School graduate, has successfully represented his hometown on a world stage once again, bringing home two golds and a silver from the World Para Athletics Championships in London, which wrapped up this past weekend.
The 20-year-old clocked in at 3:53.05 in the 1,500-meter run on July 17 and 1:54.24 in the 800-meter on Saturday to earn the top spot in each. He made silver in the 5,000-meter run held on Sunday with a time of 14:39.87, about 10 seconds short of Portugal’s Cristiano Pereira.
The ever confident Brannigan, of East Northport, was elated to represent the U.S. and his hometown on the global platform.
“It wasn’t tough. It was easy. I had a great time in London, competing and winning gold medals,” Brannigan said.
Brannigan — who was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old — added that he enjoyed the London experience as a whole, also pointing to their crowds “going crazy” as they filled the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Brannigan also thanked his coach, Sonja Robinson, for helping instruct him in “always running your best and having fun and doing the best you can accomplish,” as well as pushing him in his daily, sometimes twice-a-day, training regimen.
His mother and devoted fan, Edith, was excited to see her son mature in his racing ability, coming out on top with a more tempered racing strategy.
“He had remarkable restraint and patience, which is kind of new for him. He didn’t just go all out. He ran his own race, he was in control and it paid off. It was a big attempt for him to go for three races,” Edith said.
As an example, she considered the 1,500-meter race, where Mikey was up against London’s hometown favorite, Steve Morris. Morris took an early lead on Brannigan, but he remained steadfast, despite a nearly 50-meter gap at one point.
“Instead of Mikey panicking and chasing him down too soon, Mikey just waited. He was so patient. Then, he puts the hammer like he does. He’s got a great kick,” Edith said.
Just returning back to the town on Monday, Edith thanked the community for their continued support.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Mikey. It’s just another step in his journey. And, there’s a lot of good things coming up in the future,” Edith said. “We’re just so fortunate to live in this community. This is for them, this is for this town.”
Brannigan’s team looks forward to competing in the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo.