In the world of track and field, there is no event that garners more attention than the 100m. As someone who thrives on competition, Marvin Bracy-Williams loves where things are at currently. With only eight lanes and the talent level being the deepest it has in recent memory; each race comes down to who can execute their race plan the best.
Marvin Bracy-Williams competed in the 2016 games and reached the semifinals in the men’s 100 meters. He is also a world indoor gold medalist in the 60-meter dash. The Orlando, FL. native made an impressive return to the sport last year after trying to land a spot on an NFL roster as a receiver for the previous three years. He ran a 9.88 to finish second in the 100-meter finals of the World Track and Field Championships.
The 2023 season was one of challenges for him. He changed agents, and his coach, and signed a new endorsement with Nike. He also celebrated the birth of his daughter last December. Bracy-Williams will be the first to admit that the season wasn’t his best and is looking forward to next year as he’ll head into things with a lot more clarity and certainty.
Before he would finish fifth in the 100-meter Diamond League final at the Prefontaine Classic, Marvin Bracy-Williams spoke with M + F about the factors he feels help equal success at the professional level.
Marvin Bracy-Williams Transition From Football To Track
Marvin Bracy-Williams said the transition from track to football was one of the most difficult he’s had to do as an athlete. He starred at Boone High School and was a redshirt freshman for Florida State in 2012. With having a great track season that year, he turned pro by signing with Adidas.
The transition back to track and field was easier because of his familiarity with everything. While there were certain aspects of the sport that were somewhat new, what was the same is what’s needed to help stay at the top.
“For the most part, you see a lot of the same names [at the top] because in this sport, it’s kind of the haves and have-nots,” he says. “A lot of people that filter towards the top are the people that have the backing contractually to sustain what they’re trying to get done. It takes a lot because our bodies are like sportscars, and you have to fuel a sports car with premium. You have to get it checked up every three thousand miles, do the checks and balances all the time and that stuff takes money. There has to be some type of infrastructure in place to be able to succeed in this sport.”
Bracy says that at this stage, you’re working on correcting and implementing the small details that might go unnoticed by a casual spectator. It can be proper arm action to maximize speed or better breathing techniques. Such small focus on detail is critical but the true challenge is taking those drilled habits and implementing them when you’re next to the Noah Lyles, Christian Colemans, and Trayvon Bromells of the world.
“We all have the talent to win the race,” Bracy-Williams says. “With any lineup of eight guys you see, six guys could win that race. It’s about whether you can focus on yourself and dial in those fine details for nine seconds.”
Another aspect of importance that Bracy-Williams says is of the utmost importance for him is structure. He credits his former coach Rana Reider with helping him become a true professional in making sure that he has a schedule and training program conducive to achieving the results he’s capable of.
Calm Your Mind
When Marvin Bracy-Williams was with Adidas and coach Lance Brauman, he would sometimes train with the late Tori Bowie. Given how easily he saw she ran during competition, he approached her and asked about this. He was surprised when she explained the races were the easiest part for her. With thousands in attendance, cameras, and all the added pressure, Bracy scoffed at the notion until Bowie broke it down for him even further.
“From Monday through Friday, your coach is asking you to run your heart out your chest,” Bracy-Williams recalls Bowie saying. “Why can’t you come out here Saturday and do the same exact thing?”
For someone who had competed in football stadiums of opposing fans, Bracy-Williams began simplifying his thoughts on race day to concentrating on execution and being his best for the nine seconds he needed to be. This mindset helped better drown out the exterior factors. This has helped as the men’s 100m is arguably at the deepest it has been in some time.
Be Better Than Your Best
Due to the competition in the men’s 100 meters being at the highest in been in recent memory. There hasn’t been a true dominant talent in the sport since Usain Bolt and this has leveled the playing field and makes each race come down to execution.
Given this, Bracy-Williams says it’s always important to just focus on being better than your best as opposed to focusing on the names you’re competing against. It’s hard considering the competitive nature of each of the athletes and it’s human nature to want to beat someone who just beat you.
“The more you dive into trying to get beat someone, the less you’re focused on executing your race plan,” he said. “You have to put that in the back of your mind. In front of your mind should be to go out, execute, and run your race. I ran 9.85 at the Indoor Championships last year. That could win a lot of races but [Fred] Kerley ran a 9.78. There’s nothing I can do about that.
“Yeah, you’re racing people but it’s about who can go out there and basically beat themselves. If I’m a 9.85 athlete and if I go out and run anywhere close to that, I’m gonna make it extremely hard to beat me.”
Marvin Bracy-Williams Advice To Younger Generation
On his way into Hayward Field for our interview, Bracy-Williams had just gotten off the phone with sprinting phenom Erriyon Knighton, which raised the question of the advice he passes down to younger athletes who don’t realize just how quickly their professional careers can pass by. Bracy says his advice comes from more of a friendlier tone than an elder speaking down to youngsters.
“I just tell them to enjoy the process, have fun, and understand that when you take this step, it gets harder every day,” Bracy-Williams said. “There’s always some young dude that’s running hot and free. Like Erryion, he’s come and took the world by storm. Noah [Lyles] did the same thing. I just tell them to enjoy the process but the grind doesn’t stop. You’re going to have to figure out new ways to reinvent yourself, your training, and your technique because there’s always something to fix each year.”
Follow Marvin Bracy-Williams on instagram @braceyaself