By Scott Mills
British Athletics once quoted ‘sometimes just a few words can speak volumes. ‘Hardworking, dedicated and world-class’ and these are just some of the traits that will see Archer go down in athletics folklore” and the same can be said for David Weir.
As the pair brought down the curtain on their rather inspiring and successful careers after dominating the world of Para-athletics, the sport has truly lost two of the best in the business.
Ever since Archer first met Weir when he was just 8 years-old, she could see the determination in his eyes even then which told her that he had the potential to become a great athlete.
However, after a brief spell away from wheelchair racing, it wasn’t until 2002 that Weir reunited with Archer.
Inspired by Tanni Grey-Thompson’s performances in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the fire in the Weirwolf’s belly was rekindled and this time it was burning brighter than ever.
Even now, Archer still goes out of her way to help others and dedicates so much of her time to see her athletes achieve what some people perceive as unachievable goals.
So when Weir told Archer that his dreams were to win Paralympic Gold Medals, break world records and become the best in the world, the three-time High Performance coach of the year kindly obliged to take on this challenge.
No matter whether it was rain, snow, sleet or shine, Archer and Weir would be grafting extremely hard in Richmond Park every morning without fail to train whilst also being at Kingsmeadow Athletics track in the evenings.
Whilst working towards Weir’s first London Marathon victory in 2002, Archer asked the T54 athlete what he was going to do if he was out in front to which Weir simply replied ‘I’m going straight for that finish line’.
That same determination, confidence and grit also brought the pair five more London Marathon wins in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012.
With the London Marathon win being his first taste of success, the duo dubbed the ‘Beauty and the Beast’, were hungry for more.
World Para-athletics was about to change forever with Weir and Archer setting their sights on becoming the greatest of all-time.
To get Weir to the next level, Archer knew she had to once again draw on her strengths of futuristic coaching by creating new and innovative ideas that would not only revolutionise the sport but also help Weir to become a Paralympic great.
Whilst creating training programmes for Weir, Archer drew upon knowledge that she had gained from her coach Jim Alford, a former Welsh International who worked for the IAAF.
Using these techniques, Weir went on to win two gold, two silver and two bronze Paralympic medals before making history by winning four more gold medals at his home games at London 2012.
After also obtaining six World Championship golds, four European Championship golds and one Commonwealth Games gold medal, world records were also being broken simultaneously.
In 2006, Weir broke two world records on one of the biggest stages in athletics- the World Championships.
The WeirWolf even managed to set a new Half-Marathon world record when he set a time of 42 minutes and 22 seconds at the race in Lisbon in 2016.
As well as this, Weir also broke Sir Roger Bannisters 4 minute-mile record in the 2016 Westminster mile.
Whilst Weir was winning notable achievements on the track, Archer was receiving rewards off of it.
Adding to the 2004, 2008 and 2012 High Performance Coach of the Year awards, Archer was also presented with Coach of the year in 2012, Leaders in Performance in 2012 and the elite coach award in 2013.
But the most deserved and recognisable acknowledgement given to the coach who has committed her entire life to helping others not only improve their game but also their lives was an MBE from the Queen in 2013.
The most successful athlete and coach in Paralympic history may have retired from representing GB but they aren’t done just yet.
As the 2017 London Marathon edges ever closer, Weir and Archer have set their sights on calling time on an extremely successful career by breaking yet another record- the ever-elusive 7th win in London.