Marco Arop of Edmonton exploded 10 days ago representing Mississippi State University in Nashville, TN at the NCAA Championships with an outdoor personal best of 1:45.25 in the 800m. This Edmontonian won the Canadian U20 800m gold medal in Ottawa and then took the Pan Am U20 silver in Peru last summer. This 1.91m and 75kg relative newcomer to track ended the outdoor season in 2017 with personal bests of 1:47.08 in the 800m and 47.65 in the 400m. Now as a 20 year old he has moved down to 47.39 and 1:45.25
His NCAA mark ranks him 2nd in the world list in the 800m for 20 year olds this season. Will he provide a challenge for reigning Canadian Champion Brandon McBride of Windsor who ironicly graduated from Mississippi State University one year ago?
At the Jerome Classic Marco will compete against Olympian, Anthony Romaniw of Guelph, ON and a host of runners from China and the USA
800m Men International
1. Matt Palmer USA 1:51.40
2. LI Jinshuai Henan 1:49.93
3. Adam Paul Morris CAN 1:49.82
4. Marco Arop CAN 1:45.25
5.Anthony Romaniw CAN 1:45.60
6.a Isaiah Jewett USA 1:47.33
6b Tyler Smith CAN 1:47.22
7a Hans Roelle USA 1:49.22
7b Daniel Block CAN 1:49.58
Marco now lives in Edmonton, AB after Arop’s parents came from the Sudan. In 1983, the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out. As a result, Arop’s parents were forced to flee and eventually settled Canada.
Marco at 6'4" was initially focussed on basketball but Ron Thompson, a coach with Voléo Athletic Club, said “He was tall. He was fast,” Thompson recalled. “He was more a 400-meter type runner with speed and endurance.” After his silver medal at the PanAm U20 800m in Peru last summer, the offers from US universities began. “I’ve never trained for anything like track and field,” Arop said. “That was a big change from before. We did a lot of hill workouts and weightlifting, which I’d never done before.”
He started at Mississippi State University in January 2018. “As soon as track came I saw better opportunities arising,” Arop said. “I thought it’d be a better choice for me.”
Thompson is confident his runner will ascend to an even higher level among world-class competitors. It’s a bold proposition for a relative newcomer to the sport, and adds excitement to see what may come.”
“I just had the will to get better every day,” Arop said. “I think that’s been pushing me forward. I think it will continue for years to come.”
He will be competing in the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic for the first time with a host of international performers. The feature of the 2 evening event will be the contest between China and Canada in the Team Sprint Series. On Tuesday the 4x400m relays for men and women plus the 100m men and women for China and Canada will close the evening. On Wednesday the 400m for men and women plus the 4x100m men and women will conclude the contest for the Pacific World Cup and the $40,000 purse.