The Trail Track and Field Club is ramping up for a new season, but for the first time in 40 years, will be under the tutelage of a new head coach.
Warfield’s Kylie Lakevold will take over coaching duties from her former coach Dan Horan, who has guided the Trail Track and Field Club since the early ‘80s.
“I have been lucky to be coached by three incredible people over the years,” said Lakevold. “Willi Krause, Dan Horan and Roger Prior all played a role in my development as an athlete and the woman I am today.
“Dan started coaching to preserve Willi’s legacy and now I have the opportunity to preserve the 60-plus year combined legacy that Willi and Dan created. It’s an absolute honour.”
In February 2020, B.C. Athletics honoured Dan with the prestigious Jane Swan Award for committed service to the Junior Development program, as voted on by his peers.
Horan, now 71, along with his wife Lina, have organized and ran track and field meets and events like the Silver City Days Fun Run for more than four decades – events that would not be possible without their commitment, experience and knowledge.
The Horans devoted several volunteer hours per week to the club, coaching young athletes, as well as accessing grants, purchasing equipment, organizing and running track meets and other events. In addition, Horan served almost 10 years on the BC Athletics Jr. Development committee, and as the only certified track and field coach in the Kootenays, annually led the team to regional and provincial meets, including several BC Summer Games.
With the uncertainty and constant changing of restrictions, the COVID pandemic became too much to bear, and the Horans decided it was a good time to step aside.
“The last couple years, there was people kept saying we’re going to do this we’re going to do that,” said Dan. “Me and my wife were the only two coaches, and we were the ones that showed up Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, so I just thought well if you want to keep it going, you should get someone else.”
Lakevold, a ‘96 BC Summer Games champion in pentathlon, is excited for the opportunity to keep the tradition going. Recognizing the challenges that the current climate brings, she has also taken Horan’s place on the Jr. Development Committee to represent the Kootenay region.
“Re-starting the club during a pandemic has thrown many curveballs (or shot puts) our way,” said Lakevold. “Aside from training cohort size restrictions and sanitization protocols, Track and Field is probably one of the easier sports to re-start in a pandemic.
“Track and Field is an individual sport which makes physical distancing fairly easy, but the restrictions wouldn’t allow us to book our usual facilities.”
The club had to forego most of its training regimen last summer and missed an entire indoor winter season.
“For our older athletes who are eyeing University scholarships, this has been a difficult set-back, but we are making up for lost time in our current season at Haley Park.”
Return to Trail Track and Field
Lakevold will reboot practices for the Summer Junior Development Program at Haley Park on June 8.
Spots are limited but available to all athletes. Whether you have competed in track and field or not, the benefits from its diversity carry over to other sports.
The sport is also an affordable exercise for all income level households. Membership fees are low and it requires very little equipment other than a good pair of running shoes.
According to ViaSport’s Return to Sport plan, youth clubs can compete outside without any group size limit, but are restricted in travel to their home club only and are unable to host or attend meets.
The club, however, is able to host in-club sanctioned meets, and as long as certified officials are present, can submit results to the provincial and national athletics ranking system.
“This is far from a usual season for us, however, it looks like our competitive aspirations won’t be on hold for too much longer,” said Lakevold.
By June 15, increased travel should be allowed and outdoor sports can allow up to 50 spectators. By Sept. 7, it is projected that normal competitions may resume.
Lakevold sees a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, and is looking forward to the upcoming challenges.
“My hopes and expectations of the club are that we continue to grow, be inclusive and actively participate in developing athletes from all different sports backgrounds,” she added.
“We also hope to continue to inspire new legacy coaches to join us in this mission.”
Lakevold will be joined by coach Amy Shields, who will be leading the Junior Development training program (ages 9-12).
The junior training program runs at Haley Park on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. starting June 8, and the high-school aged program has been running since early April on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 5-7 p.m.
The Trail Track and Field Club (Previously named Trail Track and Harrier Club) was formed in 1919, and is the oldest track club outside the Lower Mainland.