Runners from the University of Colorado may have a reputation for digging deep and out-kicking their competitors but one 3,000m athlete just embodied the definition of true grit. 

Athletes on the start line of the fastest heat in the men’s 3,000m at the Husky Classic meet in Seattle had a false start and had to be called back when Colorado runner, Zach Perrin, fell down hard at the start.

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His fall ended up resulting in a broken hand but despite the pain, he got up, took his mark, and raced anyway.

Though Perrin ended up coming in sixth place overall, he was arguably the hero of the meet as he ran the full 3,000m race at a blazing pace and was competitive despite running with a newly broken hand. He also set a PB running 7:55.68 to hack his best time down by 15 seconds. As he says in his Instagram post (above), this was the weekend of breaking things: his phone, his hand and his 3,000m PB.

After the race, he told Citius Magazine, a running-focused online publication, that he opted to race having only a mere few seconds make the decision. 

“I didn’t have much time to think because they were about to restart the race but I decided to go for it since there are so few opportunities to qualify for indoors,” he told Citius Mag. “As far as the race went, it didn’t really affect me that much. I stayed on the outside of lanes one and two because I was scared of getting tripped up and falling again. Really helped to have my teammates out there with me.” 

After the race, Perrin’s girlfriend went with him to the ER where they had to wait four hours for an X-ray before it was confirmed that he did in fact have a broken bone. 

Head coach of the university track program, Mark Wetmore, was particularly impressed that his athlete would run in this injured state. 

“The hero of the day was Zach Perrin,” said Wetmore to the University of Colorado media. “Although he didn’t run as fast as he hoped to in the 3,000 meters, he did it with a broken arm. He tripped at the start of the race; fell very hard, they called the race back. I asked him if he was okay, he replied no, but he wanted to race. He ended up running a very fast time today with a broken arm.”

The overall winner of the race, also from the reputable track team, was Joe Klecker who ran 7:51.43 to set a PB by eight seconds. Second to him was Ben Saarel also running a top time in the nation– 7:53.74. The women’s race was much less dramatic with no broken bones but also had some impressive finishing times. Katie Rainsberger won in 9:01.21 with Dani Jones coming after her to clock a 9:02.22. 

Perrin doesn’t have plans to sit out on any track meets any time soon. His race schedule will go unhindered. 

 


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