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‘We’re the small track club that can’

Being patient has paid off for Track North coach Darren Jermyn.
Darren Jermyn
Darren Jermyn, head coach for the Track North Athletic Club, was named the Joe Drago Coach of the Year at the House of Kin’s sports celebrity dinner, held June 8 at the Caruso Club. Photo by Laurel Myers.
Being patient has paid off for Track North coach Darren Jermyn.

After 11 years with the local club, and a season that saw a number of the club’s athletes take medals at the provincial and national levels, Jermyn was recognized for the work he has done in helping those athletes reach their potential. He was named the Joe Drago Coach of the Year at the 43rd annual House of Kin Sports Celebrity Dinner and Awards, held June 8 at the Caruso Club.

“I’m still kind of in shock,” Jermyn said, after accepting his award in front of more than 500 people. “It means a lot.

“I’m proud of the coaching I’ve done and I’m very proud of Track North,” he added. “We’re the small track club that can. We have small numbers, but we have really big results.”

Jermyn wasn’t carrying the Track North colours alone. Three of the club’s athletes were also nominated for House of Kin awards — Ross Proudfoot was up for the amateur elite athlete of the year, Katie Wismer was nominated in the high school female athlete of the year category, and Eric Leishman was a contender for the amateur import athlete of the year. In fact, the club itself was even nominated for the Sheridan Family Team of the Year award.

Jermyn said to have the club nominated was “most exciting.”

“For a track club to be nominated for team of the year shows we’re starting to have the success, not just provincially and nationally, but now internationally.”

Over the past decade of coaching, Jermyn said he’s been on a learning curve as he’s made the transition from athlete to coach.

“I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned in 11 years of coaching... is patience. You can’t force talent and you can’t force experience and you can’t force fitness. Running is a sport that could take you 20 years to figure out.”

Luckily for the Track North athletes, Jermyn has put in the time and has the whole running thing figured out.

He won a bronze medal in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) 1,500-metre, he was a top 20 finisher in the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) cross-country championships and qualified for both the CIS and Canadian nationals in middle distance events for both the University of Western Ontario and Laurentian University.

“Initially, when you first start coaching after you’ve been competing, you still feel that sense of urgency before a race and you’re almost preparing as an athlete,” Jermyn said. “What’s happened to me over the past several years is I’m preparing as a coach now.”

That means figuring out what to do for the athlete leading up to an event.

“The day of, what I’ve learned is there’s very little you can do,” he said. “It’s the ability to stay quiet and not speak so much and let the athlete go through the experience on their own.

“If they’re nervous, you let them be nervous. If they want to talk, you let them talk, and you wish them good luck.”

Posted by Vivian Scinto.