Being able to run “carefree” was the key to the European 800 metre bronze medal, says Mark English. 

The Donegal man produced a season’s best time to claim third place in the final at the European Track and Field Championship in Zurich. 

English only qualified as a fastest loser and arrived in under the radar but came from seventh place on the final lap to land bronze. 

Reflecting on the race, he told RTÉ Sport: “As I was going out I was so relaxed. I didn’t feel any pressure and I think it proves I run best like that, just relaxed, carefree, running my own race according to how I feel and not just going out and sticking to a rigid plan. 

“Beforehand I thought to myself, well I beat the two Poles in New York by running a conservative first lap and then seeing what I had left over the last 200 and that’s what I done out there today. 

“I felt so much energy in the last 200, akin to how I felt over in New York as well. It was really just trying to replicate that as much as I could out there today.

“I knew with 80 metres to go, [Marcin] Lewandowski was shot, I could see [Pierre-Ambroise] Bosse faltering as well, [Andreas] Bube had a good sprint on him. 

“And I knew that if I was catching him, because he was quickest in the field, that I had a lot left there as well so it’s fantastic.”

In the final straight English held the silver medal position but was pipped by Pole Artur Kuciakpsi, compatriot of winner Adam Kszczot.

However, the 21-year-old UCD runner was philosophical about the outcome and paid tribute to his support team. 

“It was very close but they say bronze medallists end up happier in the long run so I'm not going to complain,” he said.

“It’s fantastic, it’s not just for me but for everyone who supported me. It’s so good to see it paying off for all of them.”