Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sometimes, I Wish I'd Never Gone Back, but I Couldn't Turn This Down; David Weir Has Not Hit Form at the London Stadium since 2012, but Is Thrilled to Return

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sometimes, I Wish I'd Never Gone Back, but I Couldn't Turn This Down; David Weir Has Not Hit Form at the London Stadium since 2012, but Is Thrilled to Return

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie

THERE are days that David Weir feels like disappearing but he is beginning to learn that taking flight is the worst thing he can do.

Caught in the web of an, at times, deep depression, Weir has gone from unbelievable highs, such as his record seventh London Marathon win in April, to crushing lows.

"The lowest point was probably that letter to my kids," says Weir, referring to a moment when he felt the need to escape so he wrote to his children -- Ronie, Mason, Lenny, and Tillia Grace -- to say he was going away for a time. The plan had been to drive from his south London home to his father's house in Northern Ireland but concerned family members contacted the police and Weir was tracked down en route.

Right now, Weir is in a good place but says that varies on a day-to-day basis at present.

"You've caught me on a good day but, on a bad day, I don't want to talk to anyone," he adds. "Sometimes I feel like I need to run away from everything but I've learned that's the worst thing to do. It's a horrible feeling and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. You feel you're not there to be honest. Your head is really cloudy and," his voice trailing off for a moment, "it's just weird to explain."

But the biggest battle was him admitting there was a problem and addressing it head on. He has sought professional help but, arguably even more importantly, he has had friends and family on tap to help him in his hours of need.

"Everyone's been incredible among my group of friends and family," he says. "And the reaction of the public has been amazing, too. I don't think I've had one negative comment and I was worried about that. In some ways it's a relief to talk about it as it's a hard subject -- one of those things I thought happened to other people. Even when it was happening to me, I thought the same thing."

The public were first in thrall to Weir at London 2012, where he won quadruple gold, and it is apt that at the scene of the greatest moments of his career he will bid farewell to the track on Sunday at the Muller Anniversary Games. Weir downplays the race itself -- the 800metres -- saying it is more of a processional farewell with the athletes in his academy among those racing against him, joking, "I've told them none of them can beat me!" But the opportunity to say goodbye on his terms means a lot. "It's very kind of British Athletics to offer me this and I didn't need to think about it, I said 'yes' right away," says Weir. "It's great they've let the academy guys in the race, too, so it's a sort of passing onto the next generation of kids."

With three of his four golds from London 2012 coming from the track -- the fourth was in the marathon -- it may seem a perfect place for a farewell.

But there are times when Weir wishes he ended his association with the London Stadium five years ago. …

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