Sun | Aug 9, 2020

Going the distance - Campbell hopes to coach a Jamaican to medal

Published:Sunday | July 5, 2020 | 12:21 AMDaniel Wheeler - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Campbell
Campbell

With his competitive career behind him, former national distance runner Kemoy Campbell is now focusing on developing young talent, all with the hopes of one day coaching Jamaican athletes to championship success.

In a recent Gleaner Sports Live interview on Instagram, the 29-year-old Olympian spoke on how he has been adjusting to life as a coach at Johnson and Wales University in Miami, Florida.

Campbell, who holds national records in the 3000m and the 5000m, was forced to retire last September because of complications from a cardiac arrest suffered during last year’s Millrose Games in February.

Campbell said that he has found enjoyment while constantly learning in his new role.

“It’s been a lot of fun. Obviously, I am trying to learn the sprint side as well, but coaching has been fun. It’s been a learning experience because when I used to run, I’m always the type of person who is constantly trying to push myself way beyond how I’m supposed to push myself every single day,” Campbell said. “So learning now that everyone is not as I was, and learning that I have to tailor some people’s workout based on how good they are, on what’s their strong points and their weak points.”

Coaching Style

Campbell describes his coaching style as ‘strict’, confessing that he does get ‘ticked’ off if an instruction is not followed, a trait coming from his work ethic during his career. As he is constantly learning his trade, he says that he has leaned on the advice from his fiancée, Rachel Kessler, in how coaching is as much about learning from the athlete, as it is developing their talent.

“She has tried to tell me, ‘hey listen, they (athletes) are not you. You are used to training with this mentality and pushing hard every single day. They are not you’,” he said. “You have to learn from these people. Learn what type of workout they like. You have to learn from people as well as teach them.”

Having not been able to achieve his goal of winning a medal for Jamaica in a major championship, Campbell hopes that he can eventually coach someone to this accomplishment.

“In the future, I actually want to coach a Jamaican to accomplish what I didn’t accomplish. One of my main goals (was to) medal for Jamaica. If I can help somebody in Jamaica to do that, that would be an accomplishment for me as well,” Campbell said.

In total, Campbell is responsible for three national outdoor records (3000m – 7:41.87; 5000m – 13:20.39; 10,000m – 28:06.40;) two national indoor records (3000m – 7:40.79; 5000m – 13:14.45), and he also became the first Jamaican male to feature in a distance final at the Word Championships, when he did so in the 5000m final at the London 2017 event.