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Still Hurdling After All These Years

July 29, 2014

Masters hurdler Francis X. Shen, who splits time between Minnesota and Boston, recently contacted me about his hurdling endeavors. Shen, who ran for the University of Chicago in the late ’90′s, has continued to train and compete into his mid-thirties. Seven years ago he wrote an article entitled “Still Hurdling after all These Years,” and he recently updated it to reflect his current status. It’s a long article about his hurdling journey, and it’s well worth the time to read the whole thing.

What you realize in reading Shen’s article is that all of us who dedicate ourselves to the hurdles share a special bond, that there are commonalities in our stories that unite us in ways that are unspoken and invisible, yet very, very real. To read the article in full, click on this link: Still Hurdling after all These Years.

Here’s a snippet from the article that really rang true for me:

This is the difference between competitive sports and “going to the gym.” In the gym, you can’t lose. The Boston Sports Club, like so many others, markets themselves by telling customers, “We want to make the experience easy for you.” They have televisions so you can forget about the running; trainers with you at every step so you don’t have to think for yourself; and guarantees that you’ll leave feeling great. Hurdling does something else entirely. It humbles you. Hurdling isn’t a way to forget about the reality of life. Hurdling brings that reality front and center. Like other serious track and field athletes, hurdlers feel anxiety as they realize that everything hinges on one, short race. Hurdlers feel disappointment and experience failure when they don’t perform up to expectations (especially their own). Hurdlers don’t always walk off the track feeling great about themselves. Sometimes they walk off the track so disgusted and deflated they don’t know why they ever started doing it to begin with. Hurdlers get knocked down. But the great lesson of hurdling, the great lesson of competitive athletics, is that you fight back. You feel the pain, but you work through it. You acknowledge defeat, but you don’t accept it.

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July 10, 2014

Just a quick note to let everyone know that everything is up and running for the GET FAST SPRINT & HURDLE CAMP that will be taking place August 1-3 at Durham Academy in Durham, NC.

Under the “Camp” dropdown menu on the homepage of you will find links to the information page (where you can also register for the camp), a bio page of the camp instructors, and details regarding what the schedule will look like and what the sessions will consist of.

Coach Howell and I are very excited to be doing this camp and very grateful to Durham Academy for accommodating us. We see it as a great opportunity to do what we do best: teach! Coach Howell is a master teacher of sprint mechanics, block starts, and drive phase, while I pride myself on being an excellent evaluator of hurdle technique, and I also love to troubleshoot problems with hurdling mechanics.

Later today I plan to put up a YouTube video providing further details on how Coach Howell and I plan to work together in order to ensure an enjoyable, challenging learning experience for all campers. So be on the look-out for that!

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Get Fast Sprint & Hurdle Camp

July 2, 2014

For today’s blog post I am excited to let everyone know that I’ll be doing two sprint/hurdle camps in the near future with Kevin Howell, the sprint coach at Cary High School in Cary, NC. The first camp will be August 1-3 at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. The second will be October 11-12 at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, VA.

The camps are for athletes 11-18 years old. Our focus will be on teaching mechanics – block start mechanics, sprinting mechanics, and all aspects of hurdling mechanics.

The name of the camps will be “The Get Fast Sprint & Hurdle Camp,” hosted by The Hurdle Magazine and the host school.

Registration details will be forthcoming; I will have the registration info for the August camp available on this website within the next few days. So check back here on the site and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

If you have any immediate questions, contact me at

If traveling to NC or VA is an issue for you, and you’d be interested in having the Get Fast Sprint & Hurdle Camp come to your area, then contact me at so we can discuss options.

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