To combat the shyness as a kid, my mum took me to drama classes every weekend. It really did help me come out of my shell and become more comfortable with being myself.
But at secondary school I just got socialised out of it through doing football and a bit of boxing. I had a lot of energy as a kid and sport was the only way to channel it and wear me out.
I was 15 when I decided I wanted to do athletics properly. I still kick myself for not carrying the drama on because now I’ve come back to it at later stage, which makes it more difficult. But I’ll work it out.
I started dabbling in acting again at university through just doing extra work to earn some cash and learn the ropes of how you have to be on set.
I was in a Simon Pegg film in this Hawaiin dancing scene, which was quite funny, and various other tiny rolls in other films, so it was all really minor stuff with no dialogue.
I finally found the bottle to go to a few agencies and start going to castings for commercials, music videos and short films, plus then there was a bit of modelling work, which was good financially.
I started to go to castings regularly for all sorts. I remember my first casting was for a Betfair TV commercial and they asked me to dance with maracas, which was completely unrelated but just to prove I was comfortable in front of camera. I made them laugh but didn’t get that gig.
You’ve got to be comfortable with rejection and not take it personally. You get knocked back nine times out of 10 so if you can’t take rejection, it’s better to find something different.
My most-recent filming was just before Christmas in a feature called ‘Devil You Know’. It’s a London gangster film and I was the cheeky best mate of a mobster’s son. I only had about 10 lines but after that I realised, for someone who has had no training, I’m half-decent.
One of the funniest moments was when me and Ross Murray did a music video for a top house artist called Ten Walls. The tune was called ‘Walking With Elephants’ and was a huge hit in Ibiza and all the festivals.
We went down to the coast in Kent for two days of filming and it was bloody cold. It was good to learn how to move on camera and have the chance to speak to a top director like Nez Khammal. Nez was moving to LA that month to work on big movies so he had just got his big break.
Acting though is on the back burner for now. One thing focusing on training does allow me to do is practice, read monologues, learn different accents and earn my acting stripes.
I’m looking at one-year courses I can do at college and then I’ll look into London Drama schools. I already have an initial meeting and audition with drama tutors at Richmond College next month. But I guess it all depends on this track season. If I make the Olympics it changes everything.
One thing that has always stuck in my mind is when I asked Nez a question that has been bugging me for years and something that I’ve typed into Google 100 times: Do I need to go drama school to become an actor?
His reply: “No way. I know loads of people that didn’t go to drama school but you have to practice. My advice is read books and keep knocking on doors. You’ll get your break.”
This was a guy who started off as a TV runner and is now a highly regarded director. It’s a great piece of advice. But I think I still want to go down the official route.
If I was to choose one acting skill I’m particularly good at I would say it’s my ability to lose myself and become obsessed with the role I need to play. I can also lose my temper very quickly just by getting lost in the thought of something that really aggravates me and then use that emotion in the role I’m playing.
Tom Hardy does it in Bronson. He finds a dark energy from within to be able to play an absolute nutcase. He is able to go from a really calm manner to switching like someone with bi-polar into an absolute temper and I can tap into that quite easily.
I did that for ‘Devil You Know’ but that’s just one film, I know nothing yet and this is why I need to do my training.
My favourite actor at the moment has got to be Tom Hardy. If you look into his background, he had some real struggles but came out of the other side and I can relate to that.
In 2015 I was doing loads of acting and wasn’t taking the running very seriously in the lead up to that track season. But then I ran 3:38 and thought, ‘hang on, I’m 2.5 seconds off next year’s Olympic standard off of limited work’.
So I’ve dropped the acting for now because it’s not possible to do both seriously and I wouldn’t want to do either half-hearted. I’m giving 2016 a real shot and then I’ll reassess what I want to do.
At the moment I’m living on the bread line whilst watching all my rivals get pampered with altitude, free massage, medical support getting wrapped in cotton wool when they have a problem.
I’ve really grafted for the last 12 months whilst working full-time hours so I’m hoping to prove it can be done.
It’s nice to have a passion in something else because it takes me away from the running and means I can get away from all nonsense that comes with it.
The funny thing is knowing you can be good at two things. But with running you only have a short window so it’s not like I can come back to it, which is why I’ve put all my eggs in that basket for now.
Interview by Christopher Rainsford
This article appears in the third edition of Left Spike from May 2016