Being at the top of your sport is one thing, but being the top of the nation, as a teenager, is absolutely inspiring. Colin Grip comes from the suburbs of Acton, Massachusetts, and through hard work and experience, he has worked his way to running the fastest 600-meter dash in January of 2017.
After such an astonishing accomplishment, only one question remains: How did he do it?
It all started out at RJ Grey Junior High School, as the cross-country season was just about to start up. According to Grip, he wasn’t all too sure about his passion for running at the time. Being only 13-years old, Colin’s curiosity got the best of him, as he ultimately chose to partake in the school team.
Grip noted, ” I knew that I wanted to keep running going into high school, but I never really knew how far I wanted to carry it. I was lucky that I found the sport back then, and over time, I’ve fallen in love with it.”
That would be exactly what he did. Grip would go into Acton-Boxborough Regional High School as one of the most talked about athletes in the town. Compared to a sport such as football or baseball, most would believe that track doesn’t have any type of special preparation, but according to Colin, those people are sadly mistaken.
“For a big postseason race, I begin mentally preparing almost a week before, but in most cases, preparation begins two days before” Colin said. “I try to focus on hydration and getting a lot of sleep that night, as well as starting to focus on my mental game.”
That would lead him to January 11th, 2017, as the boys indoor track team was up against Westford Academy. The senior out of Acton would run his 600-meter dash in an astounding 1:21.83, which is the fastest time in the country this season, as well as an AB school record.
I proceeded to ask Grip about that special moment, but his response was what most would not expect.
“It didn’t feel like that special of a day to me. The week before, I had had a similar race that required me to open quickly and race alone, so I was mentally preparing the same way I had the week before. I ran a lot of the 600 earlier in high school, but that was only the second time I had raced it in two years, and I knew it would be my last chance to go for the school record, so I decided to go for it.”
Going for it would pay off for Colin, as his name was put in the papers, on local television, and within online sites around the Massachusetts area.
Being the fastest student in the nation to run the 600 would be the climax of childhood accomplishments for most. When I asked Grip about his other success stories, he actually noted that the 600-meter was not his greatest accomplishment.
He then referred to this very month, as his school’s track team was the highest placed sports team in school history, as they turned All-American that season. During the teams national run, they wound up finishing with the highest placed time in school history.
“The thing is, both me and my teammate, Matt Antes, were coming off of sickness, so we weren’t sure how well we were would perform.”
Grip would run the last leg of the relay event, in which he beat his best 800-time by 1.5 seconds, bringing the Colonials from last to first. They would wind up winning their heat, and placing third overall.
Aside from his greatest accomplishments, Grip also took on a different approach, pointing out what his proudest accomplishment was.
“My proudest accomplishment through track is what I feel I have given to the team. Many of my teammates, Matt Antes and Pat Nero specifically, have worked hard to change the culture on the team and make AB one of the more competitive teams in the state.”
Colin added on, “Over the last few years, I believe we have helped the AB track program, and I am very confident in how the underclassmen will carry on the team once we leave.”
Grip has no ceiling to his potential, but how far is he willing to take his running career? He noted that he wasn’t entirely sure about his future as a whole quite yet, but nothing is off the table as of now.
“I hadn’t even considered running in college when I started, but things developed to the point that it became a possibility” Colin stated. “I haven’t put all too much thought into a post-collegiate career, but it isn’t something I have taken off of the table. I’m planning on seeing where my next four years takes me and seeing how realistic running at that level would be.”
Grip plans to attend the college of William and Mary as a part of the graduating class of 2021, which like his personality, he chose spontaneously. Originally not agreeing with the philosophy of the coaching at W&M, Grip actually put the school off his list for a long period of time. After a few changes within the staff, and after strong reconsideration, Grip chose his next destination for success.
The lesson is clear, being an underdog should not deprive an individual from feeling as though they can achieve a goal. Instead, Colin Grip shows he is living proof that following your instinct can often lead to the track of success.