FORMER NATIONAL long-distance runner Richard Jones is enjoying his transition from an athlete to a coach.
The 41-year-old Jones and his team Richard Jones Racing were part of Saturday’s action at the Courland Bay Heritage Park in Tobago, for the 14th annual Massy-sponsored Rainbow Cup International Triathlon event.
Jones placed 12th in the five-kilometre fun run/walk in a time of 19 minutes and 27 seconds, two seconds behind one of his athletes, Samantha Shukla.
The 27-year-old Shukla was the first woman to cross the finish line.
Elivis Turner, who was eighth overall, was the first of the Richard Jones Racing athletes to complete the course, in 18 minutes and 22 seconds.
In an interview after Saturday’s race, Jones noted that his group, comprising between 17 to 20 athletes, participated in every category on the day.
Asked if this was the first time that the Richard Jones Running group were involved at the Rainbow Cup Triathlon, Jones replied, “The first time in the triathlon.
“Last year, I was doing some assistant coaching work with St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, and I had that team up here, but I also had my own group, some of my road-runners.”
The group has been in existence for four years, and focused almost exclusively on middle and long-distance running, until Jones added multi-sport to the mix in 2017.
“We seem to be doing pretty well,” said Jones.
With regards to his new role as a coach, Jones noted, “I actually enjoy it.
I still have that competitive nature, but I think the natural progression, to move from athlete to coaching, I love it. I love every aspect of the game.
“It’s fun. I get to see the kids, I get to inflict some pain on some young ones. I like to see the whole development.
“It teaches them about life, their training, how they communicate, how they plan, how they prepare.
“It’s not just about running.”
He is getting favourable responses from his athletes thus far.
“The results are showing that they’re enjoying it,” said Jones. “Everything has its challenges but, for the most part, everybody seems to be enjoying it.”
Asked what areas he specialises in, Jones responded, “It’s just a mixture of middle and long distance, triathlon training, iron-man training.
I also do a bit of personal training. So, the scope is pretty broad. I do have some help with some of the other coaches that I work with in the group.”
The “other coaches” include Gene Samuel, with the triathlon bunch, and Edward Tuberoso with the swimming.