Ben Pattison has been named Athletes’ Athlete of the Month for August after winning a historic medal at the 2023 World Athletics Championships.
The middle-distance runner won 800m bronze to become the first British man to medal in the event at a World Championships since 1987.
What made Pattison’s achievement even more remarkable was his disclosure afterwards of life-saving surgery just three years ago. Aged 18, the runner had some of his heart burned off to prevent it from beating abnormally fast – 250 beats per minute – due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
Before doctors decided upon surgery Pattison had been told to stop running, which he rebutted as an impossibility given his line of work. Then, following surgery, he was unable to run for four months. He described the experience as “very scary”, so his wide-eyed disbelief at medalling in Budapest was easy to understand.
Now, in an award facilitated by the British Elite Athletes Association, he has been recognised for his success by his peers on the World Class Programme, who exclusively decide the winner.
Speaking to the BEAA, Ben said: “I was a bit surprised, to be honest, but I think it shows how big the World Champs was for athletics as a whole. I think it was the best team performance of the last 30 years and especially for the men’s middle distance, me and Josh Kerr both medalling was the first time I think ever that we’ve medalled in the men’s 800m and 1500m at the same champs.”
Pattison topped a nominee list comprised of Fran Brown (para-cycling), Alice Tai (para-swimming) and Laurie Williams (wheelchair basketball), each of whom also enjoyed personally impressive months.
The Athletes’ Athlete of the Month award is given to elite British sportspeople for their achievements in competition or elsewhere, such as personal development, inspiring comebacks, charity work, awareness raising and more.
It celebrates successes across elite British sport, and commends more than just competitive accomplishment – with every winner decided by the athlete community.
Thank you to every athlete who voted, and congratulations to Ben for winning, as well as to Fran, Alice and Laurie for their nominations.
Elite British athletes, to cast your vote next time, keep an eye on your emails from the BEAA!
Image: British Athletics