Hudson Grimshaw-Surette captured four gold medals at the 2020 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) Track and Field Championships in Saint John, N.B. in February of last year. One of those golds, his victory in the 600-metre run, he dubs a “dual gold” as he owes the win partly to his brother and Dalhousie University Tigers track teammate Harmon Grimshaw-Surette.
Why is that? Harmon supported Hudson by pacing him through, although at a speed Harmon wasn’t used to.
In this particular AUS Championship race, the best time out of three heats wins the event. Hudson, one of the AUS’s top middle-distance runners, was placed in a heat separate from other top runners who ran together in another heat.
There’s a psychological effect when a runner races weaker competition: the runner may win that heat, but his overall time could diminish since he wouldn’t be pushed as hard compared to a race against faster runners. So, Hudson needed a boost.
“If someone takes you through at a certain pace, it makes it easier to hit roughly where the [faster runners] would be,” Hudson said. “Harmon would have done better in the 1,500-metre, his main event, but he switched into the 600. He was OK with it, but he sacrificed both his 600-metre as well as his 1,500-metre.”
“There was zero pressure to do this, but my job was to get Hudson through the first 300 metres of the race to help give him the edge to win gold out of the slower heat. Even if that meant I blow up (tire out) in the second half of the race,” Harmon said, outlining their game plan. “I stuck through with the plan and may have helped him win gold.”
The bash bros
“Hudson is probably Harmon’s biggest fan,” Rich Lehman, the Tigers’ track coach, said of the brothers, who he nicknames the “bash bros.”
When Hudson joined the Tigers, he immediately lobbied for Harmon to join. Hudson’s endorsement, Lehman said, was “all I needed to know to recruit him. They work hard together and push each other. One of my favourite things is Harmon won’t take any of Hudson’s nonsense. Since Hudson’s a captain and makes a lot of the calls, Harmon usually gets right in his face after a decision. Then they’re fine five minutes later.”
Both brothers, who train and live together in Halifax, downplayed any heated moments between each other. They consider themselves teammates first, competitors second.
“Even with teammates, there’s competition. But there’s always more love and friendship,” Harmon said.
“There always has been competition, growing up and playing on the same teams,” said Hudson, slightly objecting with his brother. “The competitive edge helps us push each other harder, but we’re definitely more teammates than competitors.”
Pushing each other harder as teammates was the plan behind Hudson’s 600-metre win at the AUS Championships.
“The coolest part was Harmon’s death march at the end of the race. He wasn’t allowed to look like he gave up,” Lehman said. Harmon had to keep going full tilt due to AUS rules prohibiting setting a pace for another runner then quitting. Such a violation is called “rabbiting.” On top of all that, he was dealing with a lingering Achilles injury.
“He had to continue after going way faster than a speed he could maintain. His last 200 metres were probably the most painful for anyone on the team all season,” said Lehman.
“That was a very good representation of how we help each other out,” Hudson said of Harmon’s good deed. “I’ve helped pace him through workouts, but he went above and beyond at the AUS Championships. It was really nice to have him do that; a lot of people wouldn’t have.”
Hudson edged out Benjamin Perrett, from the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds, by 0.15 seconds for the win; the latter running in the other, faster heat. In fact, the top seven finishers in the 600-metre were from the same heat, except Hudson.
Harmon, who earned a gold of his own in the 4 x 800-metre relay event, said he ended up “blowing up” late in the 600-metre. He added, however, his own result “did not matter” to him as his brother won gold.