Cunningham: Just hitting my prime
At 35 years old, he is considered a grandfather in sports; racing against father time, but half-miler-turned-400m hurdler Ricardo Cunningham believes he is just embarking on his prime as his 'track age' is still young.
Cunningham, who will be 36 years old in April, said he only started running in 2008 when he joined the MVP track club. "I never did track in high school. I did my first full season of training in 2008 at MVP. Before that, I wasn't training. I think I can go until 40," the past student of Maud McLeod High School said. "Most athletes my age run at primary school and all throughout high school. Their bodies are worked more than mine."
The Westmoreland native attributes his longevity also to having an in-depth understanding of how his body works.
"I am a sports science major, so that kind of gave me the advantage in the sense that I know how the body functions and what to expect," Cunningham said. "I know certain reactions that I am supposed to get while doing certain things. I can tell when the training is working or when it's not."
Two seasons ago, Cunningham made the switch from the 800m to the 400m hurdles and made the team to the World Athletics Championship in London last year. Cunningham, who has a personal best of 1:47.14 in the 800m, said he got bored with running the 800m because the event lacks competitiveness in Jamaica.
"I was there training for the 800m and I kinda feel alone in the sense that in training, I was expected to make the times without anyone pushing me," Cunningham said. "The only time I got pushed and got a good race was at trials (National Championships)."
Now under the tutelage of Floyd Quarrie, Cunningham is hoping to run faster than he did last year and get on the podium at the Commonwealth Games in April. "I ran 47.80 in my opening 400m hurdles at the Camperdown Classics (last weekend) and that is actually my best opener," Cunningham said. "This season, the programme is basically set to run 48 low and I am on projection to do that."