Weird things happen when you’ve covered sports for a long time. It frames your life differently, your world view, and sometimes it even means seeing a man running in a suit and wondering “could he run the 40 faster than Rich Eisen?”
I know that’s a very specific example, and for good reason. On Thursday night during the primetime broadcast of the January 6 commission, video of Missouri senator Josh Hawley running through the capitol building to avoid the insurrectionists he saluted shortly before. As a result Hawley became a meme. I’m not here to make jokes. I’ll leave that up to Twitter. I’m here for science.
We only have a very short video of Hawley sprinting to go off, but this is my source material, starting at 0:50.
The Jan. 6 committee played video of Senator Josh Hawley fleeing the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, hours after he riled the crowd earlier with a raised fist. The committee room burst into laughter when the footage was played, @hillhulse reports. https://t.co/HXfyM3bLk3 pic.twitter.com/KY1O7Im5Cu — The New York Times (@nytimes) July 22, 2022
After watching the clip of Hawley running over 100 times I struggled to find a touchstone to accurately measured how much ground he covered. I mean, it’s not like I have a blueprint of the capitol building to know its dimensions. However, there is one critical piece of information in the photo that decodes this whole thing.
The stand containing wet umbrella bags. After scouring the internet I can confidently say this is a variant of the “Tatco 57029 54 1/2” Brass Wet Umbrella Bag Stand,” with a discontinued burnished brass base. The fine people at Tatco say their umbrella stand is “Perfect for museums, high-end hotels, retail stores, or office buildings.” Well, the Capitol is basically a museum and an office building rolled into one — so this seems ideal.
More importantly, we have a listed width of 16” from the manufacturer. Trying to correct for angle and depth of field I measured that seven and a half Tatco 57029 54 1/2” Brass Wet Umbrella Bag Stands could span the hallway opening, which gives us 120 inches — or 10 feet. Now we know how far Hawley ran.
Next, I wanted to get the most accurate measurement for timing his speed and only looked at his feet, from when they first enter the frame to when they leave view. In slowing the video down an analyzing frame-by-frame Hawley crosses the Capitol hall in 19 frames, spanning the distance of six Tatco 57029 54 1/2” Brass Wet Umbrella Bag Stands.
In other words, he traveled 96” in 19 frames, or 5 inches per frame. A distance of 40 yards is 1,440 inches. Therefore, we now know how many frames it would take Hawley to run the 40: 288. Twitter video is capped at 40 frames-per-second, so we now have it ...
Josh Hawley ran a 7.2 in the 40 at the Capitol Building on January 6th, 2021.
This sounds atrocious, but there are several factors to consider. Hawley is in dress shoes on a tile floor, not on astroturf in spikes. Furthermore, it’s unclear where in his stride he was when he crossed the hall. Maybe he was really winded before he got there?
Most importantly, is Josh Hawley faster than Rich Eisen, who routinely runs the 40 in a suit at the combine? Absolutely not. In 2022 Eisen ran the 40 in 6.16 seconds, and Eisen is 53 years old to Hawley’s 42.
It’s time to keep practicing that run, Josh. One day you might be faster than Rich Eisen.