Marilyn Okoro is a current British track and field athlete who specialises in the 800 metres. She is an Olympian and has to date competed in 4 World Championships and 4 Europeans in her career. Individually, she has won 3 Bronze medals in the 800 metres at both World Athletics Finals and European Championships, while in the 4 × 400 m relay, she has won 3 Silvers and a Bronze medal at both European and World Championships. The highlight of her career so far though, undoubtedly was winning a Bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
When we spoke to Marilyn we asked her about her childhood, she told us that she grew up without her father ever being in her life at all and that the relationship with her mother had always been quite strained and difficult. Her mother had struggled with a lot of challenges in life and as a result, Marilyn was taken into care at just the age of 5 till the age of 7 before returning home and eventually being sent to boarding school at the age of 10. Marilyn told us that it was in those 2 spells, firstly with an amazing Foster family and then at Boarding school that she really felt a sense of family and value. Throughout this time Marilyn had begun to run as a was of getting away from everything but as she developed she also saw running not just as a way out of her problems but the key to her dreams as well.
At the age of 11, Marilyn told us she was taken on by her first coach, George Harrison, who became her first real Father figure in life and guided encouraged and did everything he could to help her achieve those dreams. By this point she was also determined because of her past experiences to not fail and it seemed as if success in the sport because of her hard work and attitude would eventually be inevitable and so that proved to be.
Marilyn told us when asked about her faith, that despite all the challenges she faced, she always felt as if God was there. Marilyn said that she felt like not being separated from her younger brother was a miracle in itself and somehow despite everything she’d been through, she just has never really ever felt alone. Marilyn was adamant that she couldn’t have survived everything she has in life and at the end of it come out not just unscathed but as one of he World’s best athletes without her faith in God.
Like many of the other athletes who have chosen to get involved with the Fight for the Fatherless she said she has a desire to ensure that some of you guys who may be going through similar situations that she did as a child, don’t ever have to feel alone and being given the opportunity to let you know that she cares is something she’s looking forward to doing not just through this message but hopefully in the future too.
Marilyn’s next target is the European Championships in Berlin later this year and ultimately she’ll be workings towards the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Well we know she’ll give it her all as she always does and we’ll all definitely be watching on with interest as the season unfolds.