(Stephen Kline/Broadside)

(Stephen Kline/Broadside)


David Verburg is Mason’s fastest man, and he keeps getting faster.

Verburg ran a stunning 45.83 in the 400m, on Feb. 9, at the SPIRE Institute Division I Invitational. Not only was it a personal record indoors, for Verburg but it is the world’s fastest time in the 400m, so far this year.

“It feels great. It has never happened to me before. How many people can say that at one point they were ranked number one in the world? It is an honor,” said Verburg, a two-time 400m All-American, outdoors. “I know it will not stay there for long, but it gives me a point where I know I can be at the top. I am just trying to work hard and stay humble and will try to get [the record] back when it disappears.”

Verburg, now a senior, started running track during his senior year in high school, finding success and scholarship offers.

“I chose Mason because it was a small school and I wanted to make a name for myself. I wanted to build up the program,” Verburg said. “I know a lot of good recruits were coming in with me. I did not want be another guy that just sticks in the crowd. I wanted a school with a good track tradition.”

Mason’s success this year as a team has been a delightful surprise for Verburg, who hoped it would reach this level when he arrived as a freshman.

(Stephen Kline/Broadside)

(Stephen Kline/Broadside)

“I had no idea at all that the program, as a whole, would be this good. We have great people all around. We have a good coaching staff, good jumpers and good distance runners,” Verburg said.

Now that Verburg is leading a currently nationally 22-ranked team, he is running the fastest he ever has. Besides setting personal records indoors, in the 200m and 400m, he is also on one of the country’s best 4x400m teams, with teammates George Empty, Adrian Vaughn and Angel Coburn.

Verburg believes his training and the push his teammates and coaches are giving him directly results in his improved running times.

“I think my training has been going really well. I have been doing good at practice. My coaches have been going over my races with me. I am a lot stronger than I was last year. Just maturity-wise and coming off the year I had last year, my body can handle the speed now,” said last year’s CAA Male Track Athlete of the Year. “I have to credit my teammates and my coaches. Without them, I would not be this far at all. That is for sure.”

Verburg’s biggest success undoubtedly comes in the 400m, his favorite event. His high school coaches first introduced him to the quarter mile sprint in order to get in shape for the 100m and 200m.

“My high school coach had me running the 400m to get in shape for the 100m and 200m. I just excelled at it, and that was all she wrote. I just ran with it,” said Verburg. “It hurts to run, but it has grown on me. It took some getting used to, but it has definitely turned into my favorite event.”

Standing at only 5’6”, you would not expect Verburg to be as fast as he is at such a long sprint. Verburg, however, likes that he is short.

“I like the fact that I am so short when running the 400m. I step to the line and people say, “No, he is not going to do it,” but then it happens. So, it is pretty cool,” Verburg said. “People said I am too short for the 400m, and I should stick to the one and the two. So, it is nice to overcome that.”

Last June, Verburg represented Mason at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., in attempt to grab one of three spots for the United States at the Olympics in London. To add on to the list of his accomplishments, he finished in seventh out of the entire meet. He believes that experience will help his running this year.

“It was great experience because it really gave me confidence to go into this year knowing that I competed with Olympians, world champions and pros at that level. So, it really gave me a boost coming into this year,” Verburg said.

Verburg took a lot of pride in representing Mason at such a prolific and national event.

“Anytime I can represent Mason on such a national and global scale, it is great. Other kids will hopefully look up to me and say I do not have to go to a USC or LSU, and I can go to a school like Mason and do great things,” Verburg said. “You do not have to be from a big school for big things to happen.”

As the season continues, Verburg hopes he and the team will finish the indoor season strong, as championship season quickly approaches.

“We have a great group of guys. So, the team is going to do well. To win a national title is my goal. But anything can happen and hopefully it does,” Verburg said. “This year, with the way training is going and the way it is looking right now, I think a sub 45 is going to happen this outdoor season.”