Michael Brannigan has been running since he was a toddler.
“He went from crawling to running, and he’d be running into the walls,” says his Mom Edie Brannigan.
Brannigan was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old. In fact he was such a runner at this age that a therapist had to teach him to walk with his mother without running away.
Brannigan began running competitively at age 7 when he joined the Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program, a running, walking, and wheelchair racing team devoted to individuals with disabilities. At this point, his life began to change.
“The best part of the whole thing is that his academics began to started to improve,” Edie says. “Within two years he became very close to age appropriate. It’s the running that did it. I saw it with my own eyes.”
Now Brannigan is one of the most promising young runners in the country. On August 5th, 2016 at Sir Walter Miller track in Raleigh, North Carolina, Brannigan ran a mile in under four minutes, clocking in at an incredible 3:57. Brannigan’s coach Joaquim Cruz said, “He moves his body like classical music.”
Brannigan is already the Paralympic world record holder of the 1500m and he is currently aiming to make an Olympic team.
“My experience with Mikey, anything could happen.” Edie says.