Lerone Clarke launches Ace Track club
Former Commonwealth and Pan-Am Games 100m champion Lerone Clarke retired a few years ago, but his love for track and field continues. As a result, Clarke has launched Ace Track, a club he hopes will help athletes compete with confidence. The new entity is based at Lincoln University, where Clarke developed into an international class sprinter under the guidance of Jamaican Lincoln 'Poppy' Thomas.
"I've always been thinking about it, right, but one of the concerns for me was the location, you know," he said of the challenges faced in starting the club. In reference to the harsh Missouri winters, he observed, "You have to be kind of tough to train in Missouri, especially where I'm located, you don't have an indoor facility."
"You've got to tough it out in winter", he revealed, "train outside."
Ace Track started its operations in August, and though he was a sprinter, Clarke is currently training athletes for other events. "It's wider than the 100m and so on," he said of Ace Track's scope. "Right now, I've got 400m hurdlers, I got 110m hurdlers, I got 100m, 200m, 400m athletes," he listed. Among them are Yanique Ellington, who won the Class 1 200m at Boys and Girls' Championships for Holmwood Technical High School in 2011, and fellow Jamaican Miguel Barton. Like Clarke himself, Ellington and Barton are both former Lincoln athletes.
PASSIONATE ABOUT SPORT
Asked why he has entered the coaching field, he said, "I'm actually very passionate about the sport, more than just running." Speaking from Missouri, he submitted, "It is something I really love to do so."
He revealed that he had been giving advice to some athletes since he retired. "It's always been important for me to give back somehow," said the 2009 World Championships relay gold-medal winner. "So, even when I wasn't actually having a club or anything like that, there's a few guys I tried to give as many pointers as I could, you know, to enhance their seasons throughout their college years."
As a coach who studied at the GC Foster College for Physical Education and Sport before he attended Lincoln on a track scholarship, Clarke will draw on knowledge gleaned from master coaches he worked with in the past, including former GC Foster coach Michael Clarke and current GC Foster coach Maurice Wilson. "I have a lot of good experience, coming from GC to here", he said, "and then experiences with some of the best coaches as well, from Poppy to coach Wilson, Michael Clarke ... a wide range of people that have been influential in my life."