Aaron Mallett finishes first at prestigious meet

The former Iowa track star is now the best in the country this year in the 110m hurdles.


Joseph Cress

Iowa’s Aaron Mallett clears a hurdle alongside teammate Chris Douglas during the 18th annual Musco Twilight at Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Iowa’s men and women’s track and field finished first overall in the Musco Twilight with a 237.5 and 203 respectively.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

Former Iowa track star Aaron Mallett arrived in Doha, Qatar, six days before running the 110m hurdles in the final Diamond League meet of 2020 on Sept. 25.

Mallett felt good on the meet date, ready both physically and mentally. Some of his competitors had a false start at the starting line. He was able to refocus. The race started.

The result was a 13.15 second finish — the best time for a U.S. athlete this year and third in the world.

“I didn’t think it was as fast as it was, so then when I came across the line it was a big PR,” Mallett said. “I won the race and everything like that, I was just ecstatic. So, I was kind of yelling and screaming just with joy. I was so happy I did well at a meet like that and there’s just a lot of emotion that came out there, so it was pretty cool to run at that meet.”

The Diamond League is sponsored by World Athletics, which is the governing body for many sports, including track and field. Mallett said the league has the biggest meets outside the Olympics and the World Championships.
Winning the race came after a funky year for Mallett because of the pandemic.

Iowa’s Aaron Mallett prepares for the Men’s 60 Meter Hurdles at the Iowa Dual meet on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2015 in Iowa City. Mallett finished with a time of 7.82 in the final heat. (Brookynn Kascel)

“There was points where I didn’t have a track to train in because they were shutting everything down because of the virus,” Mallett said. “So, the fact that I was able to go over and compete and have the success that I have, it was a blessing kind of. I just wasn’t expecting to run as well as I did.”

Mallett won the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in the 60m hurdles at 7.54 seconds earlier in 2020. His success in February paid off for the Doha meet, because not everyone who typically run in Diamond League meets were competing at that race.

RELATED: Iowa track’s Mallett overcomes many hurdles

Mallett’s agent talked to the meet directors and secured a spot in the race. Mallett ran the Diamond League race in Rome on Sept. 17, where he finished .08 seconds slower than his Doha performance. The Rome finish was good for second place.

Since graduating from Iowa in 2017, the St. Louis native has worked his way up, even with an injury hampering his 2018 season.

Mallett finished seventh at the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 110m hurdles in 2019, short of the top-three mark needed to make the World Championships team.

Still training with Iowa director of track and field/cross country Joey Woody, Mallett trains 10 to 12 hours a week and works at Scheels.

“I’ve really been working on my start and doing a lot of things in the weight room getting stronger … just able to apply more force quickly,” Mallett said. “So that was the biggest thing from last year to this year, and just I recovered after training. Everybody thinks you have to crush these hard workouts, which you do, but you also have to recover from them in order to get better.”

Mallett has a sponsor now – Tracksmith – an independently running company. It began sponsoring Mallett in August, when he said he wanted to help a smaller company.

The Olympics are in sight for Mallett. He must meet the Olympic standard for the 110m hurdles in 2021, which he said he thinks is 13.3 seconds.

If he also finishes in the top three at the US Olympic Trials in June, Mallet’s on the Olympic team.