Thursday, April 18, 2024

Williamsburg Youth Breaks More Running Records, On Track for Summer Running Events

Gunner Hammett poses after breaking the 800m world record. (The Hammett Family)

WILLIAMSBURG — Gunner Hammett made headlines last year after breaking some of the longest-standing world records in running. He’s grabbing headlines again after breaking more this season, but this time he’s breaking them facing a little more adversity.

Hammett recently competed in the 2024 New Balance Nationals Indoor track and field championships in Boston. His first race, the 400m, did not go well.

“The 400m, I didn’t run my best. I came in two seconds behind my personal best that I would normally run. Going up to the line, I maybe doubted myself a little bit going into the race. Once you go into a race with a negative mindset, you come out with a negative result,” Hammett said.

After a special pep talk from his dad-turned-coach, Hammett took a few minutes to compose and ready himself for his next races, the 600m and 800m.

“Gunner never cries coming off the track because he’s usually leading. The first thing I told him was ‘I’m still here.’ I hugged him and I told him ‘I’m still here and we all believe in you and we know your ability.’ These are moments that truly help and define elite athletes. I told him that he’s going to learn from it and that he’s going to have an opportunity to respond to it,” Clint Hammett, Gunner’s dad, shared.

A hug from Coach Dad after the 400m helped Gunner prepare for his next races. (The Hammett Family)

The next day, he broke the 800m world record, a record he set the year prior.

“I held that record before I ran it in Boston. I broke the record by two seconds. I ran 2:02.53 and the record last year was 2:04,” Hammett said.

While in Boston, he also broke the 600m world record for his age group.

Hammett attributes much of his success to his family.

“What keeps me going is that when I run, I just think about my family. My family is my motivation. They keep me going, they keep me driven, they get me to where I am today,” Hammett said.

Gunner is an unattached athlete, so much of what he competes at is self-funded. The Hammetts travel to meets around the country for Gunner to compete at. Clint hopes that the Williamsburg community will rally around Gunner to support him on his running journey.

“As an unattached athlete, a lot of this is personally financed from our family. At some point, we’d love to see the community rally behind him because I think he’s bringing a lot of notoriety to not only Virginia but the country,” Clint shared.

Gunner believes that his running ability is a gift from God.

Gunner Hammett poses with his medals at New Balance Indoor Nationals. (The Hammett Family)

“I know God blesses very few people with a gift and I just feel like I was one of those people, one in a million people who got a chance to be blessed with a gift. I’m just using that gift to my advantage with track,” Hammett said.

This June, Hammett will compete at the Brooks Invitational. The meet brings together the top high school and junior high athletes to compete against each other. Hammett will race against other runners in his age range and distance. Later on in that same week, Hammett will head to Philadelphia to compete at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championships.

Also in June, Hammett will be honored at the Peninsula Sports Club dinner at the Hampton Coliseum. The Peninsula Sports Club recognizes youth, high school, collegiate, and professional athletes throughout the Hampton Roads area.

The family manages an Instagram account for Gunner where they frequently post his running accomplishments. To follow Gunner on his running journey, visit instagram.com/gunning4gunner.

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