Mikey Brannigan of Newport, N.Y., set a new T20 1,500-meter world record of 3:48.85 on the final day of the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“I felt physically and mentally strong,” Brannigan said after the race.
The T20 category is designated for athletes with intellectual impairment. Brannigan was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old.
Brannigan's winning time was almost ten seconds faster than Iranian athlete Payman Nasiri Bazanjani's 3:58.49 gold-medal performance at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games in London. The new world record shattered the previous time of 3:54.07 set by Poland's Rafal Korc in 2003.
His performance in Minnesota took place less than 24 hours after he ran 9:00.59 for the two-mile run at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle. Seven days before that, he ran a personal best of 4:03.18 for the mile at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City.
Brannigan ran a New York State record of 8:42.92 for the 3,200-meter run at the Glenn D. Loucks Games in May.
Brannigan was featured as Sports Illustrated's High School Athlete of the Month in February, where told SI's Ali Fenwick, “You can do anything you want. You have it inside you.”
Next year, Brannigan will attend a community college in New York and compete as a member of the New York Athletic Club ahead of next summer's Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, where he is considered a favorite for a gold medal.
- Christopher Chavez