The Wow Factor

By Steve McGill

This month’s great race is one that carries a lot of personal significance for me, as it is the race that inspired me to want to take the hurdles seriously. I was a fifteen-year-old sophomore in high school, a benchwarmer on the basketball team, when I walked into my track coach’s classsroom (he was also a Spanish teacher) to ask him a question. He didn’t even look at me as I walked in the room, as his eyes were focused on the television screen. He was playing a videotape of a track meet, and all he said to me was, “You need to be looking at this.” So I took a seat and watched with him. He rewound the tape and pressed play. What I saw absolutely astounded me. It was a 110 meter hurdle race, and the guy in the lead was running so fast over the hurdles that it looked like the hurdles weren’t even there. How does he run like that? I wondered. How does anyone ever get to be so good at what they do? At that point in my life, I thought of myself as more of a basketball player than a track athlete, and I only ran track as a way to get away from the pressures of basketball during the spring, I heard a voice inside me say, I want to learn how to do that.

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