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Ohana Running Club debuts with just over 20 runners

There is local running club called the ‘Ohana Running Club’ that was organized by committed volunteers passionate about track and field that have about 20 runners ranging in age from 6-25 being taught the fine art of running and the sport of track and field.

Trainer and Manager for the club, Clayton ‘Boom’ Mahuka spoke to Samoa News about this new club.

“Currently the focus is on training and slowly building potential membership of individuals passionate about track and field,” said Mahuka. “However, as membership grows, there is potential to establish a more official club structure in the near future.”

He went on to say that one of the goals of the club is to give local runners and field athletes the experience and training to prepare them for regional and international competitions.

“I was really motivated to start the running club based on experience with local track athletes that competed in Cairns, Australia this past June for the Track and Field Oceania Regional Championships. At that time, several coaches from other islands recommended to me that even with a small group of runners forming a club based on community and volunteer support would go a long way in building our capacity in track and field. As soon as I came back home from Cairns, I worked with interested runners and have been training ever since mid July last month, volunteering my time working with these young people.”

Mahuka stated that support from parents of the runners and involved members of the community has been great, but the greatest challenge he said continues to be a venue for training.

“Our attempts have been unsuccessful to use the local football/track and field stadium for practice in order to access develop customized training for each athlete. When this did not work out, thanks to support from the local Department of Parks and Recreation, early practices were held at the end of the larger Tony Solaita Field. However, this became impractical as the community softball leagues got underway,” he explained. 

He said the practices are now held at the Office of Motor Vehicle (OMV) driving course and that practices are now down to two days a week due to the high traffic on the course in the evenings. Practices are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The club is run by Mahuka and volunteers that include assistant coaches, Sione Kasiano, Hamina Mauga-Mahuka and Program Manager Ruta Tauiliili-Mahuka.

With continued help from the local American Samoa National Olympic Committee (ASNOC) and other organizations, Mahuka looks forward to seeing more and more locally trained athletes compete for American Samoa.

The training for these track and field athletes include:

1.            Daily warm up and intensive stretching as well as form running practice.

2.            Proper breathing techniques to enhance running ability.

3.            Basic form running, including practice for:

            a: sprinting 100 & 200 meters

            b: middle distance running 400 & 800 meters

            c: long distance running 1 mile & up

4.            Drills for proper hand off in relay competitions.

5.            Throwing shot-put, javelin and discus.

6.            Practicing for the long jump.