Swedish track athlete discusses his journey

One UVM sprinter, hurdler and pole-vaulter has a one-track minset: work hard.

Senior Martin Kallur hails from Falun, Sweden, where he attended Lugnetgymnasiet high school. He comes from an athletic family:  his father played in the NHL for the New York Islanders and his two older twin-sisters are both Olympic-level  hurdlers, according to UVM athletics.

Kallur began his track career late, only getting serious about track and field when he was a teenager. Before UVM, Kallur ran for the club team Falun IK, where he was the 2009 high school national champion in 110-meter hurdles, according to UVM athletics. In his first two seasons as a Catamount, Kallur has beat the competition on the track and in the classroom, winning America East All-Conference and All-Academic Team for both the indoor and outdoor seasons of 2013 and 2014.

He recently won the Elite-18 America East award, which recognizes the conference’s athlete with the highest grade point average, according to UVM athletics. “Martin is an exceptional student, and has been recognized as the top athlete-scholar in our sport,” head coach Matt Belfield said. Kallur has performed well on both race days and tests, Belfield said.

“I think my best strength is that I’m very determined and goal driven,” Kallur said. “I really enjoy working hard and studying.”

On Feb. 28 Kallur became the 2015 New England indoor champion in men’s heptathlon. The coaching staff agrees that Kallur sets the bar high and is willing to go the distance. “I knew when I started recruiting Martin a few years ago that he was going to have the opportunity to be special for our program,” Belfield said. “He is intelligent, mature, experienced and most importantly, talented.”

On race days, Kallur said that he is a perfectionist. “I have to have everything perfect from my jersey to my hair,” Kallur said. “I’m very meticulous, it has to be very precise.” With a large team, Kallur plays a leadership role for his younger teammates.

“Martin has a very positive attitude and works hard to get better at something every day,” Belfield said.  “Therefore he is a tremendous role model for his teammates.”

Kallur’s teammates respect his skill as a competitor and his attitude as an individual. “Martin is the kind of teammate that will pick you up when you’re feeling down and will ask about your races before his,” junior sprinter Erik Buser said. “One of the nicest guys I know and one of the hardest working on the track and in school.”

The Sweden native realizes there is still more work to do. Kallur has his sights set on competing at the NCAA finals level as both a season and career goal. “I want to be remembered as someone who gave it their all,” Kallur said “I always push myself to the limits.”

UVM traveled to Princeton University April 11, where both the men’s and women’s team placed third.