I write about this race as I process what it means to me. The 400M symbolizes lessons and opportunity of redemption. It serves as a gateway for what I seek in life. Fulfillment, change, growth and a growing relationship with God.
At one point in my life, I was homeless. Why? I was homeless because I left my mother’s home at the age of 18. I still had a senior year left to graduate. My mom as a single mother needed me to go with her on a travel job, to watch over my younger siblings while she worked on contract.
I chose not to and turned my back on my mother to chase a dream of being a world-class athlete. I had a calling and I knew that I needed to do this or I would have regrets in life. In high school, I ran the 100M and 400M. I had some success being ranked top 20 in the conference for the 400M. I also won 2nd place at the EPC…
It was my first time being able to compete in high school and I wanted more success but with me being inexperienced I got injured by being stubborn and too competitive. I got shin splints because I refused to warm up. I was juggling with insecurity being at a group home because that’s where I ended up at. But it was better than being homeless. Being able to wrestle and run track as a cavalier meant the world to me. My mind was pierced with pain – not being able to be with my mom, but I had the vision to be a great athlete.
Since an early age, I was disciplined perhaps too harshly by my stepfather. And I love him because I translate that pain into pain when I am striving to break the record. I could hate him but that’s not in my heart. I love him, in fact, for filling in as a father. So even though he is my stepfather I forgive him and look at him as my father. Despite my brutal beatings.
I had it rough growing up. We grew up poor, my siblings and I. I remember sleeping on the floor with my brothers in one room. We stopped celebrating Christmas at some point because we simply could not afford to. Pain that I translate into the 400M race.
Eventually, I became red-shirted at East Stroudsburg University for the track team.
I didn’t know I was being red-shirted and thought I would be able to compete.
I felt that I was misunderstood on that team. I wanted it more than life itself. And I still do. But I came in with a chip on my shoulder to be a great leader and teammate. I think it came from my background of being on the football team in middle school.
I will be going in this year with that same chip on my shoulder, because the 400M is all I wanted from the beginning of my first time being able to compete in high-school. I feel comfortable in competing in that race because it is natural for me. It was the first race I fell in love with. And it it my purpose. My blessing from God. Ask me how I know? I just do. God made me to be an athlete and that’s all I can say. My journey presented itself in a way up until now, for me to make that conclusion.
The only difference now, I will be staying to myself. More focused. More ready. Mentally and physically.
Thank you to Coach Merli. Congratulations on your retirement.
My passion is just very strong and it is personal to me.
Thank you Coach Germani and Coach Koch.
I am grateful.
My current dream and highest goal is still the Olympics.