Olympic Profile: Trevor Barron Race Walker - NBC 7 San Diego
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Olympic Profile: Trevor Barron Race Walker

Why U.S. Track and Field's youngest athlete heading to London spent his final days on American soil in San Diego



    On a seven mile stretch somewhere between Imperial Beach and Coronado, 19-year-old Trevor Barron's stride is somewhere between walking and running.

    This workout: 12 miles - is just under the distance he'll race in London as the lone US representative in the 20 kilometer Race Walk - an event few people know much about.

    "Race walking is a strange event, there's no way around it. But, the fact is at this level there are very few runners who could keep up," Barron told NBC 7.

    Barron can finish a mile under six minutes.

    Unlike the current terrain, smooth, flat and straight, we're finding an Olympic journey full of unexpected turns.

    In the days before trials, this Colorado college student watched neighborhoods around him go up in flames.

    Instead of training outside like everyone else, the heavy smoked forced him inside to a treadmill.

    Still, he won the race in record time, breaking the mark previously held by second place finisher Tim Seaman, who ironically is also Barron's mentor and coach.

    WHEN TO WATCH: The 20k Race Walk final is scheduled for August 4 1:45p - 3:00p PT on MSNBC

    "When he got to Oregon, to Eugene for the Olympic trials he was like ‘Oh the air is so clear here' and I was like 'Trev you really, really need to think about coming to San Diego,’” said Seaman who is a cross-country coach for Cuyamaca College.

    Training with Seaman a two-time Olympian and his team of Silver Strand Racewalkers, Barron is doing what athletes do – adapting.

    It’s something he learned at an early age.

    "I was a competitive swimmer up until age 12, but I had epilepsy, and after several seizures in the pool, I was forced to take a break from swimming," Barron said.

    With sometimes 3 or 4 seizures a day, his parents were losing hope he'd live a normal life.

    They turned to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh and brain surgery.

    "So Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh put a hundred electrodes into his head and found out where the sort of short circuit was happening, they took out a small piece of his brain and stopped the short circuiting."

    Today Barron is seizure free and the youngest race walker to compete for the US in decades.

    “Even if you have some disability, even if you have epilepsy, it doesn't mean that you need to resign your life,” he said. “You can still do more."

    With a San Diego coach and time on his side - Trevor Barron is now chasing history

    Americans have never medaled in the 20k Race Walk - something he plans to change one step at a time. 

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