Spotlight Feature: Daniel McKerlich, T20 Athletics

Welsh athlete, Daniel McKerlich

We are putting a spotlight on a talented welsh athlete, Daniel McKerlich. 

Daniel is a race Walker and classified as T20, class II1 (athletics track & field, intellectual impairment).  Daniel has a passion for athletics.  He lives and trains in Cardiff, Wales and has represented Wales at a number of competitions. Daniel has kept busy during the 2020 lockdown.

He is keen to get back to training and competition and has been working hard throughout 2021 to get back to his race walking, returning to training and competition as restrictions lift.

We caught up with Daniel during lockdown.  He shared his thoughts and plans and some insight into how he was handling what was a difficult time in 2020.  We hope you enjoy his blog!

Daniel is 19 years old and describes himself as having a learning disability, ADHD, Dyspraxia and hearing loss.

Daniel says “Since the start of the lockdown, I have been training on my own or with my dad. I have been competing in a virtual race-walking league over different distances. The first two weeks of the league were two 2km where I improved my times each week.”

“I did two 3km races to improve my time again. The next two weeks are 4km followed by two weeks of 5km.  Over the last few races there have been over 100 entries.”

“You must make sure you are submitting your virtual time to the official page. I also get a program set from my coach via training peaks.”

Daniel first started his journey in athletics in 2012 after his school team entered him for the 300m race on their sports day. Daniel won the race and was selected by his school for him and two of his peers to go to and watch the London 2012 Paralympic Games that year.  Soon after, Daniel began focussing on athletics and got very actively involved.

Daniel goes on to say “After the Paralympics I went down to my local athletics Club (Cardiff athletics). When I first joined the club, I was in a general group covering all disciplines. In 2013 I joined a sprinting group, which was the first event I tried. Later on, in that year I got asked to do my first race walking event where I went on and won the race, I automatically grew fond of the event. I completed a few more race-walking events throughout that season.

In my second season of doing race-walking, I got selected for the Cardiff and the Vale Glamorgan schools Under 15 Finals, I came 3rd in the 1500m walk.  Following on from my 3rd place in the Cardiff and vale schools, I was selected to represent Cardiff and vale schools in the 1km walk. In the welsh schools I went on to win the race. After the race I was introduced to the Welsh race-walking coach.

Over the next few years, I did a range of distances from 1km to 10km. As an under 17 I had to do 5kms in all the championship race walking events. As an under 20 in major race-walking event I have had to compete in 10km race walking.  The older you get the longer the distance gets.

Last season I was both welsh under 20’s champion and welsh senior champion. I am also ranked number 1 T20 race walker in the UK and number one senior race walker in Wales able bodied.”

Sport is not the only talent that Daniel has.  In recent months, Daniel has also started his own business in Wales, where he makes and sells cakes and baked goods.

Daniel says that this gave him another focus during lockdown and kept him busy.  This was really important when there were no competitions or at one point no opportunities to train either.

Sport however is Daniel’s main priority. Daniel has many goals for the future for his sporting career. Daniel is hoping to gain more Welsh titles and improve his times over a range of distances. He also hopes to represent Great Britain at a major Virtus Championships.


If you are an aspiring athlete or would like to find out more about the pathway to international Championship programmes in your sport, then get in contact and we will signpost you in the right direction.

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