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Michigan freshman drops 51-second 400m split for incredible relay comeback

Ziyah Holman made up a four-second gap in the final leg of a thrilling 4 x 400m relay race to steal the win for her team

Last weekend, the University of Michigan hosted an indoor track meet in Ann Arbor. In the women’s 4 x 400m relay, the Michigan squad was well back of the lead heading into the final leg. That was when Ziyah Holman, a freshman who was anchoring for her team, threw down an incredible couple of laps to steal the win for her school. Holman dropped a 51.79 400m split, overcoming a four-second deficit to win in the final stretch and turn her into a viral sensation. 

An amazing comeback 

As shown in the video of Holman’s race that has made headlines across North America, when she grabbed the baton to start the final leg of the relay, her team was not anywhere within striking distance of the lead. Despite the massive gap between Holman and her competitors, she set off at a blistering pace to chase them down. By the end of her first 200m lap (which she ran in 25.029 seconds), Holman had caught the runner from second-place Ohio State, but she still had a lot of ground to make up if she wanted to catch Indiana’s anchor, who was a couple of seconds ahead.  

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Holman posted a second 200m split of 26.758 seconds, leading her past the Indiana runner in the final straightaway and across the line for the relay win in a time of 3:48.013. In the span of less than a minute and just 400m of running, Holman carried her team from third (and last) place, four seconds back of the lead, to the win, crossing the line with a comfortable gap of about half a second for what is one of the best comebacks the track world has seen in recent years. 


Not a fluke 

Holman’s big performance in the 4 x 400m is nothing new. Earlier that same day, she won the 600m by four full seconds, stopping the clock in a PB of 1:29.27. In 2019, she helped the American 4 x 400m team to a gold medal and U20 world record at the Pan American U20 Championships in Costa Rica, where they ran 3:24.04. Finally, more recently, Holman beat her 600m PB from last weekend, running 1:28.08 at a meet in Indiana on Saturday to set a Michigan school record. 

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