Traffic in Manhattan is always hairy, but if you venture towards Fort Washington Avenue this weekend, there’s another peril….runners. As you draw closer to the Armory, you’ll face hoards of them, jogging or running strides, alone or in groups, warming up or cooling down. That’s because this is the weekend of New Balance Nationals Indoor, and the best high school track & field athletes in the nation are gathering at the Armory to battle for the title of All-American. Eastbay is here too, soaking up the sights and sounds of the meet.
And trust me, there are plenty of sounds. Right now, I’m writing this squeezed into a bleacher seat on the fourth floor overlooking the track. I can barely hear myself think through these words as I type them. Why? Because Olympian Sydney McLaughlin is running her first heat and this crowd is bringing down the house.
New Balance Nationals is a MAJOR sporting event, and no one in this building will hear you say otherwise. If they can hear you say anything at all, that is. Between the constant BANG of the starting pistol (today is filled with LOTS of sprint heats), the clapping, screaming, and cheering, the excitement within the Armory is palpable. You can’t just hear it — you can feel it and see it everywhere you look.
You can see it in the competitors. Yesterday, a coach animatedly discussed strategy with his pole vaulter between rounds of competition. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t hear his advice, but everything I needed to know was in his gestures. And his athlete’s response to them. She had a laser focus on all his movements, never flinching or breaking eye contact, despite the noise and action surrounding her. As soon as she finished a vault, she bee-lined back for more encouragement and advice.
You can feel it in the downtime between heats. When these athletes walk into the Eastbay Experience, their energy is contagious.
Celebrating with our photo wall, entering for a chance to win an Eastbay Gift Card, flipping through our catalog featuring Olympic sprinter Trayvon Bromell, or creating customized bag tags for their New Balance Nationals-exclusive backpacks only adds to the fun.
We’re getting caught up in all the action too. It’s taken me way too long to write this for you, because I can’t tear my eyes away from the track. Currently, boys’ pole vault is going for a national record. If you’re watching too, from the event itself, or from an online stream, I’m sure you know how I feel. We’re all gasping and cheering through every jump.
AND THERE IT GOES. A new World Junior Record. That’s one way to reach new heights. 19’1” to be exact.
Every runner has his or her doubters. Whether it’s a coach, family member, or rival, someone has told them that their dreams are too big or impossible. But those words don’t make the elite give up – they only make them work harder. Those haters are fuel to the fire. Don’t believe us? Here’s how some record-setting runners have Conquered Their Can’t. Shout out to our friends at STACK.com for the great videos.
“I like a challenge. I like when people tell me I can’t because it gives me something to work towards.”
“During my sophomore year, at the Penn Relays 3K, I told myself that I couldn’t win. I was the youngest kid in the field; it was my first time on the national scene. It was actually my dad who said, ‘Go out there and give it your all.’”
“My doctors, they said I’d never run again [after my injury.] I just never listen to people’s words. I’m a believer in God, so that’s the only person I’m going to listen to. It kind of aggravates my mom, because I don’t listen to anyone. I go by the man upstairs, and if he says that I can, then I don’t care about people who say I can’t.”
So now that you’ve heard from some elite runners, tell us in the comments about your own #SayICant story and how you have overcome or are planning on overcoming it.
Sprinter Trayvon Bromell has achieved both pride and glory — and the journey has just begun.
Being an elite athlete requires dedication, sacrifice, and hard work. Olympic sprinter Trayvon Bromell knows this better than anyone. His reward for living this level of commitment is more than worth the blood, sweat, and tears he has given up to reach his goals.
The glory of being recognized as one of the world’s best sprinters.
Trayvon’s journey is just beginning, and he’s teamed up with New Balance to create awe-inspiring versions of the Vazee 2090 and Vazee Sigma that embody what pride & glory mean to him.
For this St. Petersburg native, taking pride in the journey is second nature. From Florida to the world’s biggest sports stage, the Pride pack showcases what it means for himto represent his country. Along the way, Trayvon has faced countless doubters and many challenges, and most of these moments are documented on his skin. It’s these self-designed tattoos that take center stage on the Glory pack.
Eastbay: What does pride mean to you?
Trayvon: “You’ve got to have pride in this world. You’ve got to know what you’re good at, and you have to lift that up. To move forward in life, you’ve gotta know what you’re capable of doing, and you have to let that stand for something. Every day, I wake up and I give it 100% in anything that I do. If it’s in sports, if it’s in getting my education, or just helping the next person, I’m going to give 100%.”
Eastbay: What does glory mean to you?
Trayvon: “The glory stands for people to remember where all this is coming from. It comes from the man above. Yeah, you work hard to build on that craft, but that craft is not made of you. It came from the man upstairs, so glory basically is giving that praise to him, because without him, I wouldn’t have those spikes. I wouldn’t have those shoes. I wouldn’t be with this company. I wouldn’t be the person I am now.”
Eastbay: Can you tell us a little bit about the Pride & Glory pack?
Trayvon: “I give all the credit to the designers at New Balance, because they made it all possible with the designs and how it came out. I was basically just the symbol. What would be cooler than to have a spike with my tattoos on them? My tattoos mean a lot to me. They mean different things to me and different things that have happened in my life.”
With many veterans of the sport declaring this summer their last hurrah, the world is wondering what the future holds for American sprinting. If 21-year-old Trayvon Bromell’s recent performances are any indication, it’s going to be a whirlwind.
The first U.S. junior sprinter to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m and first to make the 100m World team, Bromell has a serious thing for speed.
“I love to see how fast a body can move,” he said. “You get to see people do great things in this sport. You get to see the marks and the records get broken. And on any given day, it’s just a very exciting thing to watch — to see somebody run as fast as they can or go as far as they can and see them break barriers of what people think is possible.”
The entire world is on the edge of their seats watching Bromell break those very barriers. Continually toeing the line with some of the world’s fastest men — and giving them a run for their money — Bromell is the very embodiment of what he loves most about track and field.
But this wasn’t always the case. Sidelined for almost three years due to injuries, Bromell had the odds stacked against him.
“My doctors, they said I’d never run again,” Bromell admitted. But luckily, he wasn’t paying any attention. “I just never listen to people’s words. I’m a believer in God, so that’s the only person I’m going to listen to. It kind of aggravates my mom, because I don’t listen to anyone. I go by the man upstairs, and if he says that I can, then I don’t care about people who say I can’t.”
That determination is a defining quality of Bromell the man and Bromell the athlete. But how, at such a young age, did he develop this single-minded focus?
“When a person comes from a background where you had to see your family struggle, you tend to want to work hard,” he said. “I feel like it made me who I am, but nobody ever wants to go back to the bottom, so I always use that as my motivation. I know my city would be mad at me if I was to come back home, so I always tell myself to stay focused and motivated because if I don’t, I’m going to be back to day one.”
Despite everything he’s overcome, for Bromell, staying focused and motivated also means staying positive.
“Nothing’s ever going to be easy in life,” he said. “Nothing is too hard to overcome. You’ve just gotta put your mind to it. I just zone out all the negatives and focus on the positives. I’ve never known anyone who was negative who lived a happy life.”
With so many achievements already under his belt and August rapidly approaching, it’s easy to guess what Bromell will be putting his mind to next.
“My #OneGoal is to do better than I did last year,” he said. “But, at the end of the day, I’m young. I have many more in me, so no pressure, no rush. I just let God do what he has to do, and I’m just the runner.”
Hustling, humble, and hungry, Trayvon Bromell is about to take the sprint world by storm. And here at Eastbay, we can’t wait to see which barrier he shatters next.
If you agree, find out more about his journey on the Eastbay Playbook, presented by New Balance.
Ready to get pumped up? Listen to Trayvon’s Spotify training playlist and get in the zone. Then lace up in the shoes that help Trayvon push the limits of speed — the new Vazee 2090.