Robyn Duncombe

An Explosive Start.

For two days the bombardment of my island left only destruction. Much of the Bahamas
was obliterated by Hurricane Dorian. Few homes were strong enough to withstand the storm.
The destruction of my home, left only partially standing, made my family homeless and forced
us to flee. Yet, we were the lucky ones — those that had survived and were not seriously injured
or killed. We escaped, hoping to build a new life.

The Approach.

The rhythmic life that I enjoyed in the Bahamas came to a crashing end. As it became
obvious that my family and I would not be able to return to our home anytime soon, we came to
Florida. Although I had to leave everything I knew behind, I firmly set my eyes on the
opportunity for positive change. I had to learn a new cadence. Gone was the familiar and the
comfortable. Out of step, and outside of my comfort zone, I had to learn to live in a different
culture. It was more than just a change of address when I emigrated. The new rhythm in Florida
gave me the sense that everyone was making leaps and bounds to be successful. I was now
caught in a chaotic stream of forward movement. The focus on fast-paced progress with no limits
on success, however, gave me the opportunity to redefine myself. I wanted to rediscover myself.
I needed to know what makes me unique. I wanted to find my passion.

The Attack.

I have excelled at sports my entire life, but I have lacked consistency — stumbling many
times. I was constantly weaving through many activities in pursuit of my identity. Without the
proper mechanics, I was unbalanced and out of rhythm. I finally found what I had been looking
for during my junior year of high school. I started running track in the hopes of making a
connection with others and myself. I succeeded in the former, making some wonderful friends.
Despite this, I felt defeated for the first two months due to the sprinting events I was initially
placed in. It wasn’t until my coach pulled me aside to attempt hurdles. Jumping those first sets of
hurdles felt liberating. I felt as if I had cleared a personal obstacle in my life. I developed a love
that was so overwhelming that I began to cry. I was able to relax my shoulders and just breathe.
I was no longer carrying this burden on my chest. I’d found what I was looking for. I am a
hurdler.

The Clearance.

“Run your own race, Robyn,” my coach often says, and now I understand what he means.
It was always my run alone. Of course, others are always there with me, and the hurdles must be
cleared, but the race is my own. Hurricane Dorian was devastating, but it was a hurdle cleared.
My new life in Florida was another challenge, and it strengthened me. The fact that hurdles are a
personal commitment for me is the main reason for my close connection to them. In the past, I
did things for the sake of meeting other people’s expectations. For the first time, I had something
I could call my own.

The Goal.

Even though track season is still a long way away, I spend eight hours a week honing my
talents to ensure that I am ready. Whether it’s lengthy hours of conditioning, strengthening
workouts, or systematically breaking down hurdling, I am willing to put in the extra work. I now
know how to work hard for my goals no matter what. I never take for granted the opportunities
presented to me, and I thank God for the circumstance he has placed me in. I haven’t
encountered all of my hurdles in life, but I now know that I will always get over them.

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