The world-leading 400m time currently sits at 44.91, which 18-year-old Justin Robinson ran at a meet in Georgia in August. Robinson graduated from high school in Missouri in the spring, and he has signed on to race for Arizona State University. With the outdoor track season winding down for the year, he has a very real shot at closing out 2020 with the world-leading time despite having run it while still technically a high schooler and in the U20 category.
Justin Robinson's 44.91 🌎 leading 400m pic.twitter.com/f1rXxRYD65
— FloTrack (@FloTrack) August 17, 2020
Robinson set his world-leading time at the sixth American Track League Meet of the summer, finishing just ahead of world championships 4x400m relay champion Michael Cherry, who crossed the line in 44.98, the second-best time of 2020. Both men have run faster before, with PBs of 44.84 for Robinson (which is the U18 400m world record) and 44.66 for Cherry.
Robinson also has the fifth-best 300m indoor time of the season, which was a 32.87 showing that he ran at a January meet in Virginia. While he hasn’t owned a senior world lead before, he was pretty high on the 400m list in 2019 with his U18 world record, which earned him the 24th-best time of the year (which isn’t too shabby for a 17-year-old).
Justin Robinson's 2019 was historic!
Sub-45 in the 400✅
Pan Am Games 🥇 @USATF Junior 🥇
3⃣ Missouri state titles
— Sun Devil TFXC (@SunDevilTFXC) November 22, 2019
This may be Robinson’s first taste of a world lead, but he is no stranger to big performances. He broke onto the world stage in 2018 when he won a silver medal as part of a 4x400m team at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Finland. The following year, he won the U.S. U20 400m national championship in June, won a pair of golds in the 400m and 4x400m at the Pan American U20 Championships in Costa Rica in July and capped off an amazing summer with individual bronze and relay silver in the Pan Am Games in Peru in August. Even if Robinson can’t hold onto the world lead for 2020, he has an incredibly bright future ahead of him, and he’s a name to remember in the years to come.