Breon Mullings (a 100m and 200m sprinter) wrote this piece after the Carifta games in 2010. He represented the country at the Junior CAC games that same year (winning a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay) and anchored FATIMA COLLEGE at the Penn Relays in April, 2011.
My experience at CARIFTA was a once in a lifetime opportunity, at least it felt that way because this experience was such a tremendous one.
The beginning of what was soon to be the turning point in my running career all began on March 13th and 14th 2010 as these were the dates for our Carifta Trials. I came into the trials knowing a fair sense of my competition so there were no big surprises on the day. I made it into the semi-finals quite easily and also into the finals with even less difficulty, so I knew that I had lots of energy for that final run. In between races I made sure to stay relaxed and keep my body well rested for the finals.
When the finals came I was ready for whatever anybody had to dish out at me, and though I was a bit disappointed in getting lane seven, it did not hamper my mental state because, as I stated before, I was ready for any situation.
I ended up in the lane next to my friend and long time rival the well-respected Jean-Marc Constantine, this I decided to use to my advantage as I knew I could use him to pull me so I could at least better my time from last year, since I found out the time I ran in the preliminaries was wind-assisted. Then so said so done, I did exactly what I needed and placed fourth, I ran my personal best time (11.33) from last year’s Hampton Games (11.41).
Later that week when I reached home from training my Mom told me that a representative from the National Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA) called and said that I was selected for the team, right there and then I was overfilled with joy and I dropped my bag and I was thankful to the Lord that all my hard work had finally paid off.
About two weeks later it was time to leave for the Grand Cayman which is where the Carifta Games was being held. After a three hour flight, we finally arrived in the Cayman Islands. It was nothing like I had expected it to be. I felt like I was in America instead of in the Caribbean because the place was so clean.
After we arrived at the hotel which we were going to share with the Bahamians and Jamaicans, we relaxed and were given our rooms. After a good night’s rest I woke up and had breakfast. Subsequent to breakfast, most of the athletes lay on the floor of the passage ways at the hotel content with the meal. The next day was the day of competition and I forced myself to wake up early and made sure and had an early breakfast so that I could perform at my best later that day.
When it was time for me to run I had some difficulty in acquiring a number and minutes before my race I had to run up and down to coaches and thus before I ran my relay I felt like I had warmed up five times before I actually ran. But fortunately I was also prepared for this situation, so I quickly rehydrated myself and calmed and cleared my mind and went out to do my best.
Finally, the moment came – I placed my feet in the blocks, my hand gripped firmly on the baton, my heart was racing, my feet were trembling uncontrollably, but my mind was a lot more focused on the task ahead. When the starter’s gun went off, I scampered out of the blocks and mustered every ounce of my training into the next one hundred metres.
At the end of my rather exciting race our team came third to Jamaica and Bahamas which wasn’t surprising to me at all because they had rather strong teams when I researched their stats.
The day after was the same as the first and the athletes who were not running went to the stadium to support their teams. On the next day we had to leave Cayman and head back home where we were greeted by the media and the Minister of Sports.
When I reached home I lay on my bed, I thought about this experience, and it inspired me to work a lot harder because I am still a good way from where I want to be and that is at the top which will be so high up that no one would ever be able to come close, and with that renewed faith and confidence I packed my bags and headed off into another evening of hard training, where I can truly be myself.
Breon ran 10.79 to finish second at the 2011 Hampton International Games, just missing out on a gold medal. He has also been crowned the 200m 2011 Hampton International Champion, with a personal best of 21.92. At the 2011 National Junior Championships Breon emerged as the 200m bronze medalist. Congratulations Breon!!