Series21 Oct 2013

Work, rest and play – Queen Harrison


US sprint hurdler Queen Harrison (© Getty Images)

We find out what makes Queen Harrison tick as we chat to the world 100m hurdles finalist about what she does in work, rest and play mode.

The US athlete hopes to target the 60m hurdles at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland in March.


What is your favourite song to train to?

Queen Harrison: Anything by Azealia Banks. She has really upbeat music, mixing pop with rap and many elements. She has something to suit whatever mood I'm in during training.

What is your favourite training session?

QH: Probably sprinting. I was a dual hurdler doing the 100m and 400m Hurdles in the past, but now that I concentrate on just the 100m Hurdles it is really cool for me to see what it is like to really sprint in practise. I never got the chance to do this too often in the past.

What is your favourite training venue?

QH: It is the Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Virginia. I studied at Virginia Tech and whenever I go back there it feels like home. That is especially true of the indoor facility there because in 2010 when I won the Bowerman (award) they presented me with a really big poster of myself. They decided to put it up at Rector Field House. I like to train there because it feels like the Queen Harrison Field House.

What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

QH: The travel because I get to see countries like Slovakia and Sweden, places I probably would never have chosen to go to on vacation. Secondly, meeting different people. I might be in a restaurant overseas and I meet a person that If I wasn't in track and field I would never have had the opportunity to meet. The third thing is the competition. I'm naturally competitive. Even if I have an argument with somebody, I like to win.

What is your least favourite thing about being an athlete?

QH: It is so time consuming. It is hard to get a balance. Training always has to take precedent over everything. I might want to go to a hair show or an awards ceremony but if it conflicts with my training schedule, I always have to choose training first. It can be difficult at times when you have to put your social life on hold.


Where is your favourite place to relax?

QH: My couch in my house. Everyone who knows me knows I like comfort and the couch in my house is so comfortable. I have a certain spot on my couch in the right corner which is mine and nobody lies on that spot.

Describe your perfect non-training day.

QH: I'd wake up late, obviously, in the double digits, so around 10 o'clock. I'd then meet up with my family. I'm a home body so it would be great. I live far from my family, so any day I can incorporate meeting them while not looking at a track is usually a perfect day.

What is your favourite music to chill to?

QH: Erykah Badu is probably my favourite artist. One song of hers called Window Seat automatically chills me out. It is so smooth and calming.

Do you have a favourite movie?

QH: I like comedies and my all-time favourite is Coming to America with Eddie Murphy. I know all the words, so people probably wouldn't want to watch it with me.

If you could choose one type of massage, what would it be and why?

QH: Foot massage. They take a real pounding on the track.


You’re known for your array of exotic hairstyles. How often do you change your hairstyle?

QH: I don't even know. I get easily bored. I've just put in some brown highlights, although I'm liable to go full blown blonde in the next few weeks.

Do you have a favourite ever haircut?

QH: I really like my afro. It is the basic, because that is what my hair does naturally. My hair curls up pretty nicely.

What would be your three hair tips?

QH: Number one, keep it moisturised. Two, protect it from the sun. Even though it lightens your hair it also causes damage. Three, have fun with it. Enjoy it and think of it as an accessory.

Have you had any hair disasters?

QH: Oh yes. I once had my hair really short and coloured it really light. It just wasn't the right colour for me. It was strawberry blonde. It didn't do anything for my complexion.

Is there any colour you would never dye your hair?

QH: Probably green. Actually, I don't know. I might say grey, but I saw some people with grey coloured hair and they looked really cool. Right now, I'd say rainbow. I'd never go rainbow.

Steve Landells for the IAAF