Devon Grant - Coach extraordinaire
By Dania Bogle
Devon Grant has had real tangible success as a coach since the Mavis Bank Track Club was formed just over a year ago.
The club is currently the only one in Jamaica which caters to distance runners.
The 20 or so members are from various sections of the region surrounding Mavis Bank and as far away as Yallahs, St. Thomas.
"It's a three year programme but it just turn the corner from this year," Grant told Milesplitja.
The success includes the victory of Robin Rowe in the Grace Education 5K Run in June as well as his second place finish in the Jamaica national championships in June.
Another member of the club, Garfield Gordon, was third at the trials.
Gordon has also won several 5K Road Races across the island in the last year including the Nuttal 5K.
"My interest is to work with long distance people (and) the location is very good because the lowest point is 3000ft from sea level," Grant said.
Grant has been working as a coach for over 30 years after beginning his career as a pre-trained teacher at Papine Secondary School in Jamaica.
He also worked at Mona High, St. Andrew and Kingston Technical High Schools and had a four-year stint in the Cayman Islands.
After his return to Jamaica and the Mavis Bank area Grant said he started noticing athletes training on the road and a relationship and the subsequently the club developed.
Grant understands that Jamaica's middle and long distance programme is well behind that of its regional counterparts.
The island is more known for its sprinting than its distance running.
"That is why my group is working so hard," he said.
"We are trying to get there. We are trying to run some respectable times now. We are winning but we don't want to get comfortable by just winning and not running good times. So we're working on times now."
The aim is to run 12 minutes at 5000m.
"We know we are way off in terms of long distance times," he said.
The club is also working on improving its nutrition programme.
"Because for long distance running you have to have a good nutrition programme."
The club has already been able to garner sponsorship for its transportation needs and hopes to do the same for nutrition.