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Scott Kent’s Story

Scott Kent is more than an excellent running coach. He’s also a passionate runner himself. For 17 years in a row, he made it to the national championships. “I never won, but it’s pretty good.” The 2015 coach of the year brings more than a keen eye for developing a person’s PB (personal best) to the table. “I like to teach them life skills,” he says. “That’s the great thing about running. You can run right into your eighties or nineties; it’s a lifelong sport.”

People come train with Scott at the Coastal Track Club in Surrey because his coaching breeds almost unparalleled success. 30% to 50% of the athletes he trains go on to receive a scholarship. “If varsity is their goal, coming to my club is a pretty safe bet.”

Ultimately, it is up to the runner, but a great coach can make a difference. So can a bad one.

“My son Justin was training with me, and his times were pretty impressive. A year after he stopped training with me, his times slower. I have no idea if it was the program or if he simply wasn’t training as hard, but after he came back to me, we got him back on track, and then he started improving on it.”
“He has since moved on to the BC Athletics, (Endurance Project), under Richard Lee, and he’s had amazing success, but I know I had a hand in that.”
Indeed his son has become almost a legend. He won the 2019 National NAIA 3000 meter steeplechase, and in October of 2019, he broke a 30-three-year-old record at the Good Life Fitness Victoria 8K. In the same year, he won the Vancouver Sun Run at a time of 29:30. He also holds the Canadian track record for 20,000 meters. In February of 2022, he won the Vegas and DC Rock and Roll Half Marathon minutes faster than the next fastest runner. Justin is now a coach at M2M and supports Kidsport BC.

Scott has had numerous champions develop under his watchful eye. Javier Tiwana has won countless provincial championships. Scott has been working with him since grade 9. Haley Ribeiro won the U20 women’s race in 2019. Baneet Bains represented Canada in the 3000 m Steeple Chase at the 2019 Pan AM games and won bronze at the Junior Nationals. Nico Aron one both the 400 m and 800 m at the Canadian Legions in 2018.

What separates Scott from most other coaches is that even though running is often an individual sport, his commitment to team building is remarkable.

“We have these camps,” he says. “And some of the competitive team-building games we play are very silly. I tie everyone together like a Caterpillar, and they have to move as a unit. Sometimes they eat crazy stuff. It’s about learning to support others and do what it takes to be your best. Winning is always great, but in the end, if you are constantly improving on your personal best, then you are winning.”

Life skills, remember?

After being a firefighter for many years, Scott found his calling. He comes from a place of saving people’s lives and uses these skills to help them make the lives of others better.
Legend has it that he showed up at a race in his firefighter’s uniform driving a fire truck one year.
There are many successful clubs in BC. Our lush coastal and north shore mountains and forests, parks, and beaches make our province a perfect place for developing runners. Especially distance runners. But out of the many great clubs, one stands above the rest. Its president Scott Kent might have something to do with that.
Before Coastal was founded, Scott coached track and cross country at Kwantlen Park high school while his son Justin and daughter Brittany attended.
“I had some great mentors. I learned a lot from Marek Jedrzejek and the incomparable Dr. Doug Clement. I took bits of my system from both men but what I ultimately developed was uniquely my own. Moreover, I tailor each athlete’s workouts specifically to them. You have to be flexible to get the best out of people.
I’ve been a firefighter most of my life, but now I’m transitioning into fire prevention, which allows me to spend a good bit of my time in lake country.
There are a lot of good clubs. The Punjabi Running Club has had excellent success, but our progress at Coastal is tough to beat. I’ve been blessed with overachievers. We’ve had BC male Cross Country Champions five of the last ten years.”
The beauty of running is its accessibility to everybody. All you need is a pair of shoes. A very few people get to the level of elite running, but for most of us, we’ll just run for fun our whole lives.”
After spending a few hours with this amazing man, I can see how he fosters greatness. There is a palpable sense of devotion to the art of running, to the art of competition. It transcends whatever skills he is able to pass on to his charges.
“Some people can make pretty good money as a runner. But for most of us, running is about something else. It’s about enjoying life, getting better health, and seeing the world’s beauty as you run through it. And the truly remarkable thing about running is it can be a lifelong passion.
It has been for me.

Watching these young kids grow and become champions, I get to share their accomplishments. Sometimes I think I get more joy out of their success than they do.”

“Is that life skills?” I ask.
The 2015 coach of the year just smiles.

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