Mike Dawson Bio
Mike Dawson refuses to be defined by being the guy with MS. The year after being diagnosed with MS he moved from Nottingham to Norwich in 2006, where he lives with his eleven year old daughter.
After graduation from art school he spent a decade as an animator, one of his specialism’s was bringing fabric to life in the form of animated installations that toured many of the worlds pre-eminent art galleries. The last decade has seen him develop a career as a web and print designer in Norwich.
Mike’s early life saw him compete in a variety of sports from rugby through golf and basketball to skiing and mountain biking.
The turn of the century saw his mobility slowly decline with his MS diagnosis being confirmed in summer 2005. The realisation of a life without being able to run and perhaps limited years being able to walk weighed heavily on him prior to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic games. Inspired by the handcycling exploits of Alex Zanardi winning two Paralympic golds he embarked on becoming a handcycler. Within 18 months he was invited to be part of a select field, billed as the world’s top handcyclists’ race through the streets of London. Coming 12th overall and winning his category he looked further afield to other challenges that would include handcycling.
A series of cycling events would be the stepping stone to triathlons. Having not swum for years and with a triathlon to look forward to he took to the pool to work out if he could actually swim the 750m of a sprint Tri. By the time the triathlon came around and being lined up against some top British Para-Tri team members he put in a good showing, coming in just behind the winner of his category. However, it wasn’t really that much of a challenge to swim 750m, handcycle 20km and push in the race chair 5km, he had already set his sights on an Ironman 70.3 in Croatia. Finishing the 1.2mile swim, 56 mile handbike and 13.1 mile ‘run’ in the race chair in a respectable 6hr 36min he found the event that he loved doing.
Mike has taken in a number of 5k, 10k and half marathons in his race chair, while he did race with David Weir, he was never going to be in his league. Realising that the swim was the part of the triathlons that he was really enjoying and easily placing in front of many of the able bodied athletes. Prior to the Outlaw Half triathlon, which takes place in Nottingham at the end of May, Mike decided to take on his own personal ‘Everest’ to solo swim the English Channel. On the way to this Mike has taken part in a number of 5k open water swim races over the years while also taking on a trustee role with the Hand Cycling Association of the UK. The HCAUK aims to get more disabled people out on a bike whether for the first time or the first time after a life changing injury or illness. Their series of four or five taster days held at Stoke Mandeville through the summer is part of what Mike wants to spread the message of being disabled isn’t a life ending moment, it’s just the moment in life that denotes change, embrace that change because nothing is impossible.
Mike aims to demonstrate this in September 2017 when he embarks on his swim from England to France, showing that a disability isn’t a barrier to sporting success.