Chadwick Earns USATF Athlete of the Week Honor Via Fan Vote

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –  Arkansas Razorbacks women’s track alum and Springdale native Payton Chadwick earned the USATF Athlete of the Week honors via a fan vote after wrapping up her 2020 season with a victory in the 100m hurdles at this year’s final Diamond League meeting held in Doha, Qatar. 

“Winning Athlete of the Week that just put the icing on top of this season, from such a crappy year to one that turned into something so awesome and amazing,” noted Chadwick. “I’m just happy that I was able to go through all that adversity and take that win and then have Athlete of the Week.

“Winning the last race of the season, even though it was such a short season with only five races outdoor, just made me realize where I’m at, especially from how we were training this year where we didn’t have a track, and we didn’t really have access to weight rooms. So, being able to do that and take that win there, with that time, I’m super happy and pumped and ready to see what I can do for the next year with hopefully being back on a track.”

Chadwick improved her U.S. leading time in the 100m hurdles to 12.78 seconds with the Diamond League victory last week and moved to No. 6 on the 2020 world list. She was a tenth of a second off the world-leading time of 12.68 set by Nadine Visser of the Netherlands.

Also competing in the 100m in the Doha meet, Chadwick registered a career best of 11.51, which bettered her 11.69 from 2016 and a wind-aided best of 11.57 from 2019.

“I was kind of just thrown into the 100 last second, because they needed someone to fill the lane,” explained Chadwick. “I was like, ‘Oh goodness, I haven’t run a 100 in a while, but sure, I can do it.’

“Then being able to PR, obviously I was shocked to see that number after my race. Running in that field pushed me to run a PR, so I was excited about that as well.”

Having set a career best of 12.70 in the 100m hurdles during the 2019 collegiate season, Chadwick raced in eight professional meets last year after the Razorbacks claimed the team title at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, completing a sweep of national championships with the NCAA Indoor title as well. 

An extended 2019 track season for Chadwick stretched from early January to the first week of September.

“Going from a full collegiate season, with lots of meets, into a full summer pro season it was a lot,” stated Chadwick. “It was a struggle, and it was a grind. But it was great, because I was able to get all that experience of traveling by myself overseas, not having a coach to warm-up with me, not knowing the language, and not understanding, really, the pro lifestyle.

“So, going into this year and the short, little pro circuit that I just went on, it was so much more enjoyable and nice, I had a lot more fun just because I finally knew what was going on from my experience from last year.”

During the 2020 indoor season, Chadwick continued her professional trek by racing in six meets prior to earning a silver medal in the 60m hurdles at the USATF Indoor Championships.

Then the coronavirus pandemic halted the start of the outdoor track season and altered training options available to professional athletes.

“I was super excited and ready for outdoor training,” Chadwick said. “We got to train outdoors for just a little bit and I was running fast over 10 hurdles in practice. I was excited and ready to go. Texas Relays was going to be my opener in the 100m hurdles, and then, of course, it got canceled. 

“So that was a little disheartening, but me and my whole training group kept training and kept getting after it. Then I was able to do what I just did last week.”

Chadwick resumed competition in early August with a 200m race in Prairie View, Texas. She competed in the 100m hurdles at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in late August and clocked a U.S. leading 12.97 to win her section and place third overall. 

“The biggest challenge as a hurdler was just not being able to hurdle as much, because usually we hurdle once to twice a week and they’re intense practices,” said Chadwick. “So, not being able to do that my confidence was a little bit low hurdle-wise. 

“When I ran the time I did at Drake I was like, okay, I did not realize that I was in that type of shape and ready to run that fast. So, then I was thinking maybe I don’t need all that. I just need to be confident in myself, my training, and in my coach. Now there’s no telling what we can do whenever we actually have access full time to a track facility next year.”

A journey to Europe in September included meets in Dessau, Germany; Zagreb, Croatia; and Rome, Italy. Chadwick was consistent with her performances, posting times of 13.00 (twice in same meet), 13.01 and 12.89, which improved her U.S. leading time prior to the Doha Diamond League performance.

“I thought that Prairie View was going to be my first meet, and then Drake was going to be my last meet,” Chadwick noted. “I thought that was going to be it for my outdoor season. Then my agent reached out to me and said there are some meets going on overseas, so let me know what you think. 

“I was a little leery at first, but then talked to my coach about it. I’m super glad that I went over there, it definitely paid off.”

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