LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Motivated by the memory of his Dad as he turned the last corner, Matthew Harding won the 800-meter race at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships.
“Coming off that final turn I 100% heard him talking to me telling me the same thing he’s told me every single race I’ve run” said Harding. ”Keep your shoulders down keep your head up, keep driving the arms and it’s really all that was going through my mind. There was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to come away with the win in that race.”
Harding’s dad passed away after a 2-decade long battle with brain cancer. He was back in his home country of Wales just a few days before the race and his dad told him his last wish was to see Matt run one more, time.
“Last conversation I had with him he actually told me he wanted to come back and run in this meet” Harding said. “So that’s why I knew that I had to do it and I had to win this meet for him. In his memory and in his honor.”
“I wanted to see him run as I told him we brought him here to run” said head coach Brendon Gilroy. “Obviously, the situation that he’s gone through you wouldn’t want to wish that upon anybody, but for him to bounce back like he did and win the 800 was just a fantastic achievement for him as well as the school.”
After his time at McNeese is done, Harding says he plans to compete in the Olympics. Which is something he’s dreamed about for a long time.
“The next step kind of for me is we have the commonwealth games next summer. So, I’ll get to compete for my country of Wales which you don’t get to do” Harding added. “We obviously compete as Britain in the Olympics and the world championships so it will be great to get the red of my country on the chest.”