Trayvon Bromell, one of USA’s top hopes for a gold medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014, has been running fast for a long time this season.
Starting with a 10.01 100m at the Texas Relays in late March, the Baylor University first-year student followed through with his world junior record of 9.97* at the NCAA Championships in June.
The US junior championships were nearly a month later, at the beginning of July. Now it’s late July, and Bromell is preparing for another big championship, four months after starting to round into form.
Bromell does not find this prolonged season daunting; far from it. “The treatment I get from the staff at Baylor keeps me feeling recovered,” said Bromell at today’s press conference ahead of tomorrow’s heats. “I know it’s been a long season, but I feel like with the heart that I have, I’ve got a lot more to put up. I’ve been going back and getting the maintenance done on my body. I feel like I can still run fast. I won’t run slower, my heart won’t let me. We could see history made again.”
Bromell didn’t back away from his confidence when asked about the Hayward Field surface where he posted his 9.97. “It is a real fast track,” he admitted. “When I came out of the blocks at NCAAs, it’s another feeling. When I came up and saw myself ahead of the competition, I thought, ‘I love the Oregon track’. I chose the right track to run fast.
“The support of the crowd isn’t just to Oregon athletes, either. It doesn’t matter if you’re down and out or way up there. They show a lot of love to any athlete out there, doing their event.
“I don’t set times for myself. I feel like it will throw me off if I think about it, so I think about making my transition out of the blocks, or my drive phase. I stay focused on executing and whatever comes up on the board is what I’m supposed to run.”
Bromell doesn’t have family coming to watch him in Eugene from his home in Florida, at the opposite corner of the country, but he does have a cousin on the team: his roommate, Tim (TJ) Holmes, who will be running the 400m hurdles.
Mary Cain, the world indoor junior record-holder at 1000m, was a 1500m finalist in Moscow last summer and finished sixth in that event two years ago in Barcelona. Yet in Eugene she has opted to compete at twice that distance, entering the 3000m.
“I wanted to mix that up,” she said. “I typically run more 800s and 1500s and I consider myself a miler, but I wanted to go up in distance. There are a lot of capable girls in this race, and I wanted to challenge myself. I think this is going to be an awesome race. They have Diamond League races at this distance, but those are fast.”
Cain is managing another transition this year, finishing her high school studies and transitioning to a university setting. It’s still July, but Cain has a plan – not surprising for an organised, dedicated athlete – and thanks to a high school programme that included classes her university accepts for credit, she’s already started.
“I’m going to the University of Portland,” she explained. “Technically I’m coming in as an undecided major, but I’m leaning down a chemistry path. Luckily I’m a few credits ahead thanks to AP [advanced placement] courses. I’m planning a heavy load, to take 19 credits in the fall and more on the 12-15 side in the spring. My father was a chemistry major, and I like blowing things up in the lab.”
Cain and Bromell have the fortune of representing the host country at the first IAAF championship held in the USA since 1992.
“It makes me a bit more excited to be representing the US,” said Cain. “I think it might give me a bit of an edge. Two years ago, in Barcelona, it was an amazing experience, and it was cool to be abroad, and to get that whole experience. Being in Eugene, it’s like a second home for me. There’s a comfort level there.
“My training group is based in Portland, so my coach will be here. My father is coming out. I feel like I’m at home. I’ve run in Eugene so many times I feel like I know everyone in the crowd, too.”
Parker Morse for the IAAF
*Subject to the usual ratification procedures