Yesterday, U20 world record holder Sydney McLaughlin made her professional debut at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston. McLaughlin ran a 1:09.46 to win the women’s 500m. Canadian Ashley Taylor was second in 1:12.22.
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In an interview with Let’s Run before the race, McLaughlin opened up about her time at Kentucky and expressed that she wasn’t totally happy there. “In the environment I was in, I didn’t feel happy. I lost the love for the sport when I started making it a job too soon, before I even went pro.”
Many running fans were surprised at the hurdler’s decision to go to school as opposed to turning pro right out of the gate, but her first year in the NCAA was very successful. The freshman managed to set the collegiate outdoor record and world junior record in the 400m hurdles, running 52.75, and a world junior record in the indoor 400m of 50.36. Immediately after the NCAA Outdoor Championships, McLaughlin announced that she would not be returning to collegiate running.
McLaughlin explained in the interview that working with such elite training partners, who had already seen the highest level of the sport, she began to put a lot of pressure on herself and lose her enjoyment. At Kentucky, she was training with the likes of 100m hurdles world record-holder Kendra Harrison.
McLaughlin is now coached by former Olympic gold medallist Joanna Hayes. The 19-year-old runner has one of the biggest social media followings in professional running, and is doing a great job of making herself accessible to her fans. She took time post-race on Saturday to sign autographs and do interviews.
Boston was reportedly McLaughlin’s only indoor race of 2019, but we’re looking forward to see what she does outdoors as she gears up for the 2019 U.S. World Championships trials.