Kyron McMaster, the 2017 400m hurdles world leader, IAAF Diamond League winner and recently minted Commonwealth Games champion from the British Virgin Islands, chats about the passion for his event and why he does it.
“My early memories of track are as a fun after school activity, which only later developed into a means by which I could acquire an education and a potential career. My first hurdling experience came at the 2014 Carifta Games in Martinique. There I won bronze in the 400m hurdles, which encouraged me to further pursue the event. The following year I set a national record of 50.16 at the Pan American Junior Championships in Edmonton and in 2016 I won bronze at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz. It was a great feeling, because it was the first time an athlete from the British Virgin Islands had medalled the 400m hurdles.
“Over time I have developed a passion for the event, because I realised what I could accomplish as a 400m hurdler.
“What I love about the 400m hurdles is it is an event that separates the men from the boys. I’ve seen 44-second 400m sprinters – who should theoretically be able to able to comfortably run 47-seconds for the 400m hurdles struggle to do so. It is an event that requires maturity and patience to reach the top level.
“I hurdle because it is an event many people can’t handle and I love a challenge. I like to take on and beat sprinters over 150m, 200m or 300m while I’m hurdling and they are running on the flat!
“I have also enjoyed the perks of life as a professional athlete. Being able to run a sub-49 (seconds) 400m hurdles has given me the luxury and opportunity to travel the world and meet people from many different cultures. To receive free gear through my kit sponsor is another bonus.
“Without hurdling my life would still be fun, but nowhere near as exhilarating. Hurdling helps release any stress or anger I may feel. Had hurdles not been a part of my life, I would have to find another avenue to release that stress or anger.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF