The Brightside: Local coach is in it for the long run

WICOMICO Co., Md. – In Wicomico County, one man is working to inspire others one step at a time. That man is Gerard Jones, a part-time track coach, but full-time runner.

Jones said, “I always had a thing for running.”

Jones doesn’t just run for fun, he has run in races all up and down the East Coast.

“I like the big races, all the crowds, seeing the extra motivation. It pushes you a little bit faster,” he said.

Jones’ goals are big. He hopes to compete in the Boston Marathon someday soon so he can come home with what he considers the ultimate prize.

Jones said, “To me, that’s like the ultimate goal for a runner is to be able to say that’s the plaque that you want to have. It says you’re an accomplished runner.”

Looking at Jones’ impressive track record, you might think he’s been at this his whole life. In a way, he has.

“I started running back in elementary school,” he said.

But, like with many of us, life got in the way. He ended up taking a long break, over 20 years to be exact, to raise his family after graduating high school. As soon as his kids were grown though, he started running competitively again as if no time had passed.

Jones said, “After the kids graduated my hobby came back to me.”

Jones has been running competitively for six years now, and boy is he fast. Even back when Jones was attending Wicomico High School, he set a record in the tenth grade for the fastest three mile run.

“It was 18 minutes and one second,” he said.

It’s a record that still stands today, about 30 years later.

Jones said, “It was six years ago I looked it up and I was like, ‘Wow, I still hold the record.'”

Jones now coaches at WiHi, the very school where he set that record, part-time.

Jones said, “I wanted to give back since I always enjoyed running.”

Of course, he challenges his students to beat his record.

Jones said, “So we got this little game where I say, ‘Can you beat Coach Jones this year?'”

As a coach, Jones passes along lessons to students that they can use both on the track and in life.

Jones said, “Your mind will tell you to quit, but you still have a little left in the tank.”

But Jones aspires to be more than just a coach to his students, he also hopes to be a life coach to others…One who spreads a message of hope and inspiration.

Jones said, “I guess what I am trying to say is you can always have a goal that you can always keep trying to push forward to and try to achieve, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are.”

So not only is Gerard Jones a full-time runner and a part-time coach, he’s also a part-time motivator.

Jones said, “Hopefully I inspire other people.”

Categories: Brightside, Local News, Maryland