Runners compete in a 5k at sunset in Corona, California. Photo: K.C. Alfred (Getty)
If you’re not a runner, let me explain something to you: the 400 meter is one of the most grueling runs in all of sports. On a 4×400 team? Better get ready to perform, especially if you’re the anchor (last leg).
Kendall Ellis didn’t let her teammates down.
The anchor of the USC women’s 4×400 relay inherited a bobbled hand-off to start her lap this past weekend during the NCAA championships. On top of the pressure to gain more than a hundred feet on several opponents in less than a minute, Ellis had to finish first in order for the USC track team to win the team championship.
She accomplished the impossible, gaining nearly a hundred feet on her final opponents within the last 200 meters to edge out a victory over the lead runner from Purdue. The win was so improbable, you can hear the announcer declare Purdue the victor seconds before Ellis enters the frame.
“I just don’t know if Purdue is going to get caught,” says one announcer.
“There’s no way unless they drop the baton,” says the other announcer.
But words don’t do it justice. Simply watch below. (If you’re inpatient skip to 3:10):
This 4×4 was UNBELIEVABLEpic.twitter.com/TNbFKbEiC8
— FloTrack (@FloTrack) June 10, 2018
What’s even more incredible is that Elli’s lap time was 50.05, a time that would have won the national individual championship every year since 1984.
I’ll quote Yogi Berra on this one.
Josh Helmuth is a sports reporter in St. Louis who contributes to Mandatory.