Two years ago I was the new kid on the track, wondering what it must feel like to compete against the best. Today I can finally call myself a national champion. Thankful for my coaches, friends and family who’ve supported me throughout the years. I’m also extremely grateful for guys like @mcbride46 who raise the bar high and continue to push me towards the next level. #hailstate #ACTF2018
Marco Arop is a Mississippi State computer science major, NCAA silver medalist, and now, national champion over 800m. Arop’s was arguably the performance of the day on Sunday at the Canadian Track and Field Championships.
The 19 year-old upset World Championship finalist, Brandon McBride to take the win in the 800m final. Arop ran an honest race, leading start to finish. “I had two plans going into the race: either follow the leader, or control the race. Obviously I ended up controlling the race. I was certainly running scared, but I think that ended up helping me.”
Arop immigrated to Canada from Sudan in 2002 and now calls Edmonton, Alta. home. He just finished his first semester at Mississippi State University. Co-incidentally, McBride also attended Mississippi State, and had a big impact on Arop’s decision to attend the school. Arop’s current head coach is McBride’s former head coach.
Arop’s recent results are even more impressive considering he’s only been seriously training for three years. He did some track in elementary school, but only recently got back into the sport.
The 800m runner says he had a feeling he would do well this season, but no idea he would do this well. Arop broke through to a new level when he placed second at the NCAA Championships in June, and brought that momentum into Sunday’s race. Arop said, “NCAA’s is a huge stage, but there’s something special about the Canadian Championships. I love competing in front of a Canadian crowd.” Post-race Arop got Jamaican food with his coach and caught a flight home from Ottawa to Edmonton early Monday morning.
RESULTS | @AthleticsCanada Championships
— MSU Track & Field 🏅 (@HailStateTF) July 8, 2018
Arop is an automatic qualifier for the NACAC Championships this August in Toronto. He plans to have a solid training block at home before heading east for NACAC, and then back down to school in Mississippi.
Arop’s current mindset with regard to running is, “It’s fun for me. There’s no pressure.”