AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nothing was stopping a Texas high school distance runner from winning a state title — not even a missing shoe.
Grapevine High School junior Walker St. John won the 5A 1600m state championship this weekend in Austin against all odds. Stuck in the middle of the pack at the midway point of the race, St. John kicked it into gear after one key moment left him shorthanded — or short-legged in this case.
Near the 1000m mark, another runner accidentally stepped on St. John’s foot, causing his right shoe to fall off.
St. John continued running with one shoe, overtaking the lead and capturing the gold medal with a time of 4:18.53.
The 2020 5A cross country state champion considered putting the shoe back on but pressed forward and was rewarded with another championship.
“It was scary. First of all, because I was worried I would get spiked and, second of all, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish. There’s a brief moment when you’re like… should I even step off? Should I try to fix it? Maybe in a 5K you might do that, but in a mile you don’t have time. You just have to roll with it,” St. John said after the race.