Jarret Eaton is one of our finest hurdlers. Jarret has chosen one of the toughest events in athletics, the 110 meter hurdles. In March 2018, Jarret Eaton won the silver medal in the 60m hurdles at the 2018 World Indoors. I have enjoyed watching Jarret Eaton compete and we sent Jarret twelve questions so we could learn more about this fine athlete! We thank Jarret Eaton for his answers and allowing us to learn more about his world.
RunBlogRun, #1. What was your first experience in track and field that you can remember?
Jarret Eaton: My first experience in track and field came when I was in middle school. I remember the gym teacher telling me how fast I was and that I should join the track team. I went to the tryouts and the coach’s were really nice and went though all the events. When he got to the hurdles, I remember most of the kids saying they would never try that because they were scared (that) they were going to fall. But, I saw them as a fun challenge, like an obstacle course. From that moment on, the hurdles became my identity on the track.
RunBlogRun, # 2. Tell us about your sport experience in high school?
Jarret Eaton: My sporting experience was very intense in high school. I played Football and ran track and field every year, starting as a freshmen. My senior year was the most rewarding of all the years in high school. Our football team made it to the playoffs, the furthest in the school’s history, breaking records and expectations as we went. We were a 16 seed team making it to the semi finals and I was a stand out cornerback and wide receiver. We played one of the most iconic games of football ever, in the freezing rain and muddy field before losing the game to one of our rival schools. On the track side of things that year, I had the greatest season ever. I decided to skip the indoor season to give my body some rest after football, so I could focus on the upcoming outdoor track and field season. The fastest guys from our football team were on the track team and we had a spectacular 4×1 and 4×4 relay squad. Our relays didn’t make it to states due to some key runners getting injured ,but I made it to states for both the 110H and 300mH. I won both titles that year with a PR and school record in both. I couldn’t have had a better athletic outcome my senior year if I tried. (outside winning a state title in football, of course) The bonds and experiences I had truly shaped who I am as an athlete today.
RunBlogRun, # 3. When did you get into the high hurdles?
Jarret Eaton: I got into hurdles my first year doing track and field. I fell in love with the hurdles and was seen as brave for even trying them. I remember my first loss in the hurdles and it was devastating. Being the fastest kid all the time meant that I was a stranger to losing. I remember getting to the track meet and I watched kids change their shoes and put track spikes on for the first time ever. I didn’t know what they were or how they helped but after I crossed the finish line and wiped the dust off my face (Because we ran on a cinder track… geez am I that old?) my father went out and got me my first pair of track spikes. I wish I could say I didn’t lose again but this is real life and there were some fast kids in my state!
RunBlogRun, # 4. Have you done the intermediate hurdles?
Jarret Eaton: I’ve only done the 400 intermediate hurdles a handful of times. I was told that it was my strongest event in high school and as a freshmen at West Chester University But when I transferred to Syracuse University my sophomore year the coach only had me focusing on the 60m and 110m hurdles. If I had gone to Villanova when I decided to transfer my story would have been a little different.
RunBlogRun, # 5. What was your college track experience like?
Jarret Eaton: My college track experience was filled with highs and lows. From almost getting kicked off the track team, to making it to nationals, to tearing my hamstring, to winning the school’s first ever NCAA championship in track and field, (I had highs and lows). It was 4 years of hard work and learning from some truly awesome and fun individuals. I had a tremendous coach, Coach Dave Hegland, who worked with me and pushed me to my limits. He taught me so much about the sport and how to take care of myself, which has helped with my longevity as a professional to this day. The program and environment I was in was ideal from the Head coach, Coach Fox, to the greenest of green freshmen, Freddie Crittenden, everyone was inspiring and had nothing but positive energy.
RunBlogRun, # 6. What is the biggest mistake you made as a hurdler early on?
Jarret Eaton: The biggest mistake came my Junior year in high school. This moment humbled me beyond measure and taught me a lesson I needed to learn. The mistake I made was downplaying my competition. At the state championships, I was ranked 3rd in the 300m hurdles, only .05 away from first. The next fastest time after me was a long .17 away. On the day of the semi finals the fastest two qualifiers didn’t make it to the finals race due to the scheduling of events and that left only me by a long shot. I was in lane 4 and expected to win. The night before I joked with my friends about how I’m going to answer the interview questions when I win and did a little celebration. The day of the race things couldn’t have gone any worse. From the start I remember losing, I panicked and tried to make up for it but it was too late. I remember with 250m left in the race wanting to give up but going over the last hurdle someone in the outside lane fell and that saved me from a last place finish. I think I ended up finishing 6th place overall when I was seeded to win. It was a day that shaped my mindset and a mistake that made me a fierce athlete.
RunBlogRun, #7. If you were speaking to a room full of young hurdlers, give us three important things to remember around the hurdles?
- They are not your friends! No matter how comfortable you feel going over them, if you slip up they will grab your trail leg and bring you down. Or grow taller and chop your lead leg.
- Drive your hips into the hurdles, not your chest.
- The hurdles are kind to those who find the rhythm and its literally anyone’s race when it comes to the hurdles so run your race all the way though and dip like hell across that line.
RunBlogRun, # 8. If you were speaking to a room full of young coaches, what resources would you suggest on the hurdles?
- Lower the hurdle height, it helps
- Find the commonalities between hurdlers, not their personal style
- Were still sprinters at the end of the day
RunBlogRun, # 9. Tell us about your experience at US indoors in 2018?
Jarret Eaton: The USA indoor championships went about as perfect as I could have imagined. Going into the championships, for what ever reason, I wasn’t expected to represent Team USA at the Indoor world championships. The talk was on other athletes, even though I was the top seed going into the meet, but that ended up just adding fuel to my fire. I went out there, performed and stayed focused on the goal at hand. Luckily I wasn’t dealing with an illness or injury, so I could perform to my maximum ability. In that final, I had the perfect race from start to finish. I was able to win and give myself a new PR in the process, and really put an “!” at the end of the season. Additionally I ran my “Extra Pair Campaign” and was able to raise over 55+ running shoes for the high school kids of Rio Grande High school in Albequerque, New Mexico. I had the support of my fellow professional athletes donating shoes as well as the support from USATF. I was able to bring a few of the coaches and athletes to the meet and when I won my 60 hurdle title, I was able to bring the kids up on the track and thank them as well as the athletes for taking part in my campaign. Things couldn’t have been written any better.
RunBlogRun, # 10. Tell us about your experience at World Indoors in 2018?
Jarret Eaton: The World Indoor Championships was such a cool place to be. Aside from the freezing temperatures, I really enjoyed every moment there. Through the rounds of the race, I was calm collected and focused. I really wanted to relax and enjoy myself and you can see from some of the races and post race interviews that I was doing just that. The final race was over so fast that I didn’t realize how close it was, or that I hit a hurdle until hours later, when I saw the race. I just remember crossing the line and looking at the scoreboard and wasn’t sure of the outcome. I went to shake Andrew’s hand and he didn’t let go and then we had a long handshake until they put the results on the board. I saw his name first and then mine and didn’t even look at the time. I was just so happy to get my first international world medal that times didn’t matter at that point, I was happily in the moment. To know the difference between me and him was .01 means that I still have work to do and it fuels me for the next championships.
RunBlogRun, # 11. What was your experience at USATF outdoors?
Jarret Eaton: The experience I had at USA outdoors was unique. The outdoor season had not been going as planned ,due to injuries and other limiting factors, but I was again focused on what I had to get done to perform to my best. I knew there would be no hype around me as there were other hurdlers who this time ran faster than me, so I enjoyed the silence. I made it though the rounds and was ready to run the finals when a huge storm came through and delayed everything. It was untimely, but it was something you just had to deal with, another hurdle in the way. After the storm delay, we got out there and I remember being in the outside lane all to myself. It gave me the blinders I needed to just be able to run my race. Coming off the last hurdle, I could feel some people with me, so at the last moment, I leaned really hard and ended up losing balance and slid on the track after I crossed the line. Its more common than you see ,but luckily the ground was wet, so I slid like a slip and slide with no track burns added. I placed third which is my highest ranking ever at the outdoor championships and I was extremely proud of myself.
RunBlogRun, # 12. If you so desire, tell us three things that RunBlogRun readers do not know about you?
- I’m turning the “Extra Pair Campaign” into a nonprofit in order to help more high schools in need in 2019.
- Forrest Gump is my favorite movie.
- I built my own gaming PC
Jarret Eaton: Larry, thank you so much for this interview. It was fun to answer these questions and If there are any more follow up questions I would be happy to answer them in a timely manner. I truly appreciate the opportunity.