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Ohio State sprinter Maggie Barrie to represent Sierra Leone in 400-meter dash at World Championships

Ohio State sprinter Maggie Barrie will run the 400-meter dash for Sierra Leone at the Wolrd Championships. Credit: Ohio State Athletics

Prior to the start of the 2017 indoor track season, Ohio State senior sprinter Maggie Barrie had barely even competed in the 400-meter dash. In fact, she was intimidated by its length. But that all changed at her team’s time trials at the beginning of the year

“We had a 300-meter time trial and and I ran the 300 really, really fast and they were just like, ‘Wow, you can run it really fast, let’s try to put you in the 400,’” Barrie said.

So, they gave her a shot at running the 400-meter dash at meets. Barrie took full opportunity and never looked back, becoming an honorable mention All-American in the outdoor 400-meter dash.

Recently, Barrie was chosen to represent Sierra Leone at the International Association of Athletics Federation World Championships where she will compete in the 400-meter dash. The event, which takes place in London, England, takes place Aug. 4-13 and her first round race is slated to begin Sunday at 6:55 a.m.

Since Barrie only recently began running at the distance and admitted she wasn’t fast at it last year, she said she was surprised to be tabbed to run. But because she had the fastest time of anyone representing Sierra Leone, her name was called.

Barrie, whose personal record at 400 meters is 52.27 seconds, wants to run her race at the championships in 51 seconds. The ambitious runner believes this will set her up for success  inher final season of college.

“I want to be more than top 20 in the nation. I want to be top five,” Barrie said. “And, so, if I hit 51 (seconds) at worlds, then I’ll put myself in a good place to score even higher when the major competitions for next year come.”

Barrie is also a member of Ohio State’s indoor 4×400 relay team which set a school record of 3:31.23 and became the first group in program history to be named first team All-Americans in the event.

In London, she won’t be in unfamiliar territory as the Columbus native will have plenty of supporters. Barrie has visited many relatives who now live in London after immigrating from Sierra Leone. Her parents – both Sierra Leone natives – immigrated to the United States, but many other relatives left their home country for England.

Barrie was able to travel to the country for the first time since she was a child – she was so young when she first went that she can’t even remember the experience – in July. She said it not only lived up to her expectations, but blew her away.

Barrie isn’t a native of the country she will be representing, but Sierra Leone holds a special place in the first-generation United States citizen’s heart.

“Sierra Leone definitely drives me,” Barrie said. “Being able to represent it and put it on the map and make an opportunity for sports to be able to drive the nation is definitely and honor.”

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