Behind every great athlete is a great story and this week, ahead of the IAAF/ Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships, I took the opportunity to speak to Welsh endurance runner Dewi Griffiths’ coach, Kevin Evans to find out more about Dewi’s growing success.
Kevin is an ex-policeman from Aberaeron with a string of Welsh Athlete successes under his belt, the first of which was Andreas Jones. Kevin saw something special in the then 10-year-old which was proven when Jones went on to represent Great Britain at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. The pair worked together until Jones moved to Cardiff to start a new training regime.
The Carmarthen Harrier fell into coaching after attending a Dyfed School athletics event with his wife who worked at the local school and as they say, the rest is history. Kevin has now coached around 130 athletes who have donned the Welsh vest – so what is the secret to his success?
“The key is getting to know the athlete. You must treat all athletes as individuals; what works for one won’t necessarily work for another.”
It is exactly this approach that has worked for the Griffiths-Evans partnership to date. Dewi & Kevin have been working together for about 9 years. Both are proud Welsh speakers from rural Carmarthenshire who have formed a solid working relationship.
Kevin is full of praise for Dewi. He describes him as a “character” and a “man with a big heart who would never give up.”
“Dewi runs about 100 miles a week, and what people don’t know about Dewi is that when he isn’t training, he’s working on his family’s farm, and its lambing season! Discipline is key to his success.”
Kevin’s extensive experience has certainly given him that extra edge for working with Dewi, and it’s clear to see that his know-how has served the Carmarthen product very well indeed.
“I don’t think you can compare Dewi to any other British endurance athletes. He has found success in mountain running, track, cross country and road. There aren’t many athletes around who are so adept across several disciplines.”
Dewi has represented Wales 53 times and will be sporting the GB vest for the 13th time this Saturday for the IAAF/ Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships. This race could prove key to Dewi’s development and Kevin would like to see him competing for a top 3 GB finish.
“Being selected is an achievement in itself” explained Kevin who wants the Welsh Athletics star to enjoy the race.
Dewi added: “I’m really excited for Saturday’s race, my training has gone well and I’m hoping to achieve a PB. After the half marathon Championships, I’m looking forward to get back on the track and seeing how close I can get to the Olympic qualifying time.”
The qualifying time for Rio in the 10000m is sub 28:00 so it’s going to be fascinating to see how Dewi gets on over the coming months with the help of super coach, Kevin Evans.