To get a better understanding of Anton Brown, the man in the Global Electronic Technology, Matco Tools, Top Fuel Toyota we spent some time with him over the winter. We were there when Brown met up with a very interesting man, Paralympic athlete and sprinter, Jarryd Wallace. The two men talked about life, and their shared passion for track and field.
Antron Brown: I was always competitive, no matter what I did. You could be pitching quarters against the wall, and I’ll want to win. I grew up in a little town called Chesterfield, N.J.. Track was a big deal around our area. We used to watch all the Olympics back in the day. And Carl Lewis was like, it was when he broke nine seconds, you know what I mean? So, I went to college and I went to a little small junior college called Mercer in New Jersey.
I decided to go out and check out their track program as a walk-on. Then I got a scholarship. I got to train with Chris Carter who ran in the ’96 Olympics on a four-by-one team. And then I was going to go to [Long Island University] where my coach was going to be the head track coach. That's where I was thinking about going for my last two years of school, and then I decided to go drag racing, but it was just like something else that was always a part of me. And then coach was very upset at me, very upset, because they helped train me, wanting me to go to school. I was like coach I'm going, I'm going fast. But not with my legs.
Jarryd Wallace: I always joke with people and tell them that I ran before I walked. In fact, running was just like always going to be something I was going to fall into. When I looked back at my story, and based on the decision to lose my leg, I'd lost my ability to dream. I don't know what I had to bring to the world anymore. I didn't know what my life [was] supposed to look like anymore. My mom was an all-conference track athlete in Georgia. She was a Canadian national champion in high school. When I was a baby, she pushed me while she was training for a marathon. In high school, I was a middle-distance runner and kind of battled with some injuries throughout my career. I had to have surgery for my injuries and had complications in those 10 surgeries. Two years later, I had to have my leg amputated, kind of a crazy twist to the story of what I thought my life was going to be and where I thought I was going.
But at the end of the day, it became the biggest blessing. Ultimately got to a place where I stopped letting present circumstances dictate where I was going. And I started dreaming again and letting my dreams that I had drive the decisions I was making in that moment to help me get beyond. I got a prosthetic and I got a running blade. And my dreams of being a, you know, a world class athlete came back alive. I made my first U.S. team a year after amputation and now I’m 10 years into being a professional Paralympian and [hold] multiple world records. And I've seen the world and just been blessed by that, by the journey I've been on.
AB: You inspired me because it made me want to be more, do more. It tells the true makeup of an elite champion athlete, [when] through all odds, you never stopped.
JW: What goes through your mind in a race that happens so quick? Not a whole lot of time to think, it's react and it's preparation on the front end to just be able to execute when it comes game day?
AB: You know, when you get to a race and you're lined up in those blocks, you got your get ready deal, where you're just trying to get yourself in that zone. A lot of people don't understand that zone. You're not getting into that zone to get all pumped up. You're getting into that zone where you make everything just like calm because you want to pounce like a cat does on the prey. Everything from that 100-meter sprint to a drag race, we're just in a vehicle doing the same thing.