Feature02 Jun 2020

Holloway’s five tips for surviving life in lockdown


US sprint hurdler Grant Holloway (© Getty Images)

World 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway has been based in Gainesville, Florida, throughout lockdown. Here the charismatic rising star of global athletics offers his five-point guide to surviving life in lockdown.


1 – Be positive

Life in a Covid-19 world of uncertainty is never easy but the prodigiously gifted sub-13-second hurdler has chosen to adapt a positive mind-set from the beginning.

“When I heard news that many events were cancelled, I thought about it as a positive,” says Holloway. “I took is as like I was having a vacation and I could finally time for myself. I could enjoy a sleep in and take some time out from the daily 24/7 grind.

“Sometimes you have to update your computer and that’s what the coronavirus has allowed us to. It has allowed us to get the rest we didn’t get before. It has allowed us to be true to ourselves.”


2 – Family time

As the second son to Stan and Latasha, Holloway has used the opportunity to regularly check in with his parents who live in Chesapeake, Virginia.

“I’m very big into family,” he adds. “They were around before money or before I made a name as Grant Holloway. They raised me because they loved me and that is bigger than fame.”

During lockdown he has been unable to see his parents – “which sucks,” he says – but the 22-year-old has made up for it with regular Zoom, WhatsApp and phone chats.

“Every day after practise I speak to my mom for about an hour and I probably speak to my dad every other day. Now my mom no longer works and she has a lot more free time we have developed an even more special bond.”

Because of training commitments and the recent lockdown, the last time Holloway was in Virginia to see his parents was in December and he can’t wait to reunite.

“It has been difficult hanging out for Zoom meetings but hopefully soon I will get the chance to go up there (to Virginia) to spend time with them and totally disconnect from the world.”

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3 – Keep fit and train

With no immediate events on the horizon, motivation has been tough. Yet Holloway knows he must keep his eye on the ball and remain ready for action, so maintaining fitness is critical.

“I need to be physically fit so when the time does come to compete again I’m not staring at the back wondering how I am going to be ready. I need purpose to what I’m doing and I get a big source of energy from the fact the first Diamond League meet of the season is scheduled for Monaco in August.”

Allowed to train in groups of 10 – albeit with appropriate physical distancing – Holloway’s training group, which also includes sprint hurdlers Andrew Riley from Jamaica and Eddie Lovett from the US Virgin Islands, US sprinter Kyra Jefferson and 2019 World Championships 400m hurdles finalist TJ Holmes, meet four times a week at a grass field for training.

Just prior to lockdown Grant acquired five hurdles to aid his training and he has regular access to a gym at the home of his strength and conditioning coach, Matt DeLancey, who lives close by.

“Finding an open field was easy, as was finding a weight room, so I feel blessed,” he explains. “I know some athletes have access to neither. What I do on the track I now do on an open field and I feel I’m reaching a peak and ready to hit the heavy weights in the next four weeks.

“I am so excited to compete again. In my one indoor meet this year I ran 7.38 – just eight hundredths off the world record – so I know it is going to be a big season next year.”

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For motivational purposes only. 🌹

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4 – Rest and recuperation

Since he was young, Holloway has been a huge gamer. He is a big fan of the ‘one-person shooter’ games like Call of Duty and he enjoys the competitive nature of the battles.

“I’m a competitive person. I’ve got a competition problem!” he adds.

In May he featured in a charity Call of Duty: Warzone game with NBA basketball players Josh Hart and Eric Paschall to raise funds for urgent medical supplies to treat the coronavirus.

Holloway thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “To get the chance to play video games, have fun, raise money for a cause, and help change people’s lives is a win-win situation.”


5 – Home improvements

After buying a home in June, he has used the additional downtime to work on making his house look more presentable.

“When you invite people over to your house, you want it to look top-tier and not low-tier,” he adds. “I’ve put in a patio, a fireplace and I got some palm trees put in and a fence. I’ve taken care of certain upgrades – I’m trying to get the house to look nice.”


Steve Landells for World Athletics