Chayce helps groom future May 24 stars
At 25, Chayce Smith, along with the likes of Sean Trott, Lamont Marshall and Juma Mouchette, represents the next generation of potential May 24 Half-Marathon champions.
But already the track runner is nurturing another crop of talented runners.
While he battles goes for a first May 24th title tomorrow, PE teacher Smith is also expecting some good things from some of his Elliott Primary students who will be competing in the Heritage Day Junior Classic, a two-mile race which starts on Front Street and finishes at Bernard Park.
Smith is expecting competitive performances from Kazai Sealy and Josiah King in the under-10s and Z’Dao Dill and Leroy Lewis Jr in the under-12 division.
“I have about 10 runners and five competitive ones,” said Smith. “My under-10s should do really well. They actually placed first and second in cross-country so I’m looking for them to come first and second again.
“Z’Dao Dill should be in the top three in his division and the other one, Leroy Lewis, is a footballer but since I’ve been there at the school he’s gotten into running a lot. He’s the son of (Leroy) ‘Nibs’ Lewis and he’s got a lot of talent. I’m encouraging them to get into running and hopefully follow similar footsteps and take it to the next level, whether it be football, cricket or whatever.”
With defending May 24 champion Chris Estwanik ruled out through injury, and Sean Trott and Lamont Marshall not competing, Smith could be one of the main contenders for a first title along with professional triathlete Tyler Butterfield, Jay Donawa and Stephen Allen. Certainly the running bug is catching on at Elliott where the youngsters have a role model in their gym teacher.
“Their parents are having a time with it because most of them want to dye their hair like me right now,” Smith stated. “The parents and I decided they could spray their hair but not dye it permanently and have a patch like mine.
“When you work around children they are inspiring, to see them so competitive. I know that I have to keep doing what I’m doing to keep them going. I think because I still do it, they are more into it, but the main thing is I have to perform.”