Talk about the most influential coach you've trained with.
Kermit Kerville, my HS coach, taught Track & Field in a way that enabled me to appreciate the sport, but more importantly, he made me realize that success in T&F would give me a voice and an opportunity to get in front of people in support of what I believe. He was a coach that taught me how to technically prepare for a competition, how to be individually responsible for my performance, and how to have principles when I compete. He taught me to respect myself and others stating that (due to racial tensions and conflicts present between the schools) others will have a perception of us because we are black and because we come from the “wrong side” of town.
For example, if team members addressed each other in a derogatory ways using the slang version of the “N” word, then he would take our bantering personally due to his experience with racial obstacles in the black community. He was adamant about how we conducted ourselves when we put on our TORNADO uniform. He wanted to ensure our acceptance and respect at every track meet. He told us that if we performed to the best of our ability, then an opportunity was created for others to say that all black people are NOT… ( fill in the blank). These lessons made me realize that coach Kerville was someone of value and principles.
Who do you train with today?
There are many coaches from whom I have incorporated training techniques and wisdom. Today I rely on several consultants and coaches to help me achieve my goal. This includes a team of medical professionals, along with coaches who represent a diversity of coaching experience and expertise. In addition, their own achievements range from being a 100 meter Olympic Champion to a world record holder in long-distance running.
What keeps you pressing toward this goal with the overwhelming pressures of everyday life (work, children, church and of course training)?
Being spiritually connected to God is the foundation, inspiration and motivation that fuel the passion that I have for running. However, what motivates me every day to overcome every challenge, obstacle or person who doubts what Iím trying to achieve is the voice of my dad expressing his desire to see his son run in the Olympics. Finally, I know that success in Track & Field would give me the opportunity to make an impact in the quality of lives around the world.
Talk about your athletic talents.
I realized at an early age that I had athletic abilities and that these abilities were going to open doors and create opportunities for me. The first opportunity was a social and recreational outlet since my mom was so strict. However, as I progressed through little league football and baseball, then middle school and high school athletics, I feel that the competitiveness of making the team helped me develop character. It was also through my athletic talents where I found the key to getting an education beyond high school and beyond my family's means.
Describe your appreciation for running outside of your track competition.
Running 5K, 10K, half, full and ultra marathons gives me an opportunity to escape into my mind, heart and soul as I connect to nature with every step. In addition, I appreciate the opportunity to travel to cities where I can see how different people live in their communities both spiritually and materialistically. These experiences and insights help me prioritize the things that really mean the most to me.
What do you do for fun?
I love going to the movies. I just love sitting in a movie theatre staring at the big screen. Other than that, I love the peace and serenity of fishing. It is a sport that keeps me connected to my father, takes a lot of patience and is a lot of fun.