‘This is a reboot’: Reece Prescod finds a way after quitting Call of Duty and Deliveroo | Athletics

When Reece Prescod appeared at the UK Athletics trials last year, he was 18lbs overweight after bingeing on fast food and Deliveroo pies while enjoying epic eight-hour late-night Call of Duty sessions. Despite the 26-year-old’s highly unorthodox preparations, he still made it to the Tokyo Olympics, only to fail in the 100m semi-finals. There was also a nagging feeling that Britain’s most talented male sprinter was letting his extraordinary talent slip away.

A year later, Prescod is a different man. As he heads back to Manchester for the UK trials for next month’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon, he sold his PlayStation 5, swapped fast food for cooking at home with Prep Kitchen and worked hard to turn abdominal flab into muscle. lean.

The results have been surprising. Last month, he posted a personal best of 9.93 seconds at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, despite a notable headwind, putting him within a shy of Linford Christie’s British record of 9.87. 29 years. He believes that there is much more in the tank. “I feel like this is a reset,” he says. “A reboot for Reece.”

The key to being fitter, happier and more productive, he says, was selling his computer. “It was a pretty sad day. But with Call of Duty, I had to wonder why I was playing it. Was I really enjoying it or was I just upset about everything that was going on and wanted to drown and just play and eat and stuff?

“I had to face a harsh reality with myself. I was using the PS5 to distract myself.”

With commendable honesty, Prescod also admits that while he was talented enough to break 10 seconds in the 100m four times and win European championship silver in 2018, he wasn’t fit enough to win gold at a major championship. Not being able to compete for two years after suffering a serious hamstring injury didn’t help, but neither did his penchant for going “full session” on night rides. When she asks him what he drinks now, he says: “3.5 liters of water”.

“As you get older, your body doesn’t work the same. When I was 19 or 20 years old I could go out, wake up the next day and be ready. I was basically like a Duracell battery. Whereas now, if I don’t get eight hours of sleep, my eyes are red and tired. As everyone says, I’m already a bit old. But I think the old man’s lifestyle is helping.”

Prescod has also started seeing a therapist and a sports psychologist for his mental health – he says he has an addictive personality – and to improve his performance. “I’ve always had this mentality of, ‘Just deal with it or just sweep it under the rug,’” she says. “So it’s been a challenge to open up and talk about things.”

Reece Prescod posted a personal best of 9.93 seconds at May's Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava.
Reece Prescod posted a personal best of 9.93 seconds at May’s Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava. Photo: Lukáš Kaboň/EPA

“In the meantime, for recovery, I go to cryotherapy twice, three times a week. And I also use wellness centers, like Repose Space in Kensington, and I also spend time in saunas and spas. It’s all about those little 1% gains. If I’m training better, eating better, sleeping better and my mindset is better, it should get better over time.”

Prescod also credits his new trainer, Marvin Rowe, for telling him some hard truths, keeping him accountable with regular weigh-ins and making him fit enough to double the 100m and 200m.

“Marvin is building a stronger Reece, a more robust Reece,” he says. “So when it comes time for the championships and you have to race round after round, I’ll be ready. The talent is still there. I just have to make the best of myself now.”

He has always talked about a good game off the court. This year, Prescod’s many fans will hope that he finally delivers as well.

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Prescod is just one of many top British athletes competing in the trials, which take place from Friday to Sunday, with 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith in the 100m and Olympic medalists Laura Muir and Josh Kerr in the men’s and women’s 1500m.

The most intriguing race of the weekend comes in the men’s 800m, where this year’s fastest man in the world, Max Burgin, faces stiff competition from Elliot Giles, Dan Rowden and many others for the three spots in Eugene.

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