Herah used sports to escape poverty through education

November 18, 2022
Derron Herah
Derron Herah

Derron Herah claims he has used sports and education to propel him out of poverty with many not being aware that he was an athlete, instead of the more common statue of being the husband of the fastest woman alive, Elaine Thompson-Herah.

"I like to develop the younger athletes. I was once in a situation where I just basically loved the sport and then it came to a point where I took it seriously because I am from a garrison situation, where you don't see where you would make it in a world where academics is necessary," said the Lakes Pen, Spanish Town, native.

"I didn't see where I could afford to go to college. Not that we don't have the ability or the academic potential to do that, but because of the financial restraints and maybe lack of resources and (being) from poor families. Majority of Jamaica is that," the St Jago High School past student added.

Herah, who said he is a firm believer in education, said sports was a stepping stone to success for him and he likes to help younger athletes who face social ills along that path.

"For me, it is really to help...because sometimes all someone needs is a little bit of motivation. Most of the athletes that I coach, I don't even try to keep them here in Jamaica. I have always tried to get them eligible for colleges and universities and try to get them scholarships based on my experience of being in the American system," Herah said.

"Not everybody will make it. Not every athlete has the potential of obtaining a professional contract out of high school sometimes. And just a change of environment is good and you get different opportunities.

"I think that is more beneficial in the long run if you're not a top-tier athlete that is going to get a contract that really makes sense for you to skip the educational part of it," he continued.

Herah recalled some of his triumphant moments as a student-athlete, although he was not as successful as his wife in his athletic career.

"I started out doing sprint hurdles..,then I ended up running the 400-metre hurdles in the end because I was a stronger endurance type of athlete. I did all different types of events at St Jago, I did sprints, I did 800 metres, you know you are trying to get the points at Champs," Herah said.

However, his athletic prowess met a stumbling block.

"Junior College was fun... and the injury came in and I went to the academic side of it and did more in the books."

While he could not continue his physical race, he continued to use his experience of being a student/athlete to finish that leg of his life relay.

At Texas Tech University, Herah achieved a double major Bachelor's Degree in business administration and finance, before going on to Davenport University where he attained Masters Degree in healthcare management and finance.

"Being a student-athlete is a whole different thing, it teaches time management skills, it teaches how to prioritise certain things and as a student-athlete you are always a student first," Herah said.

From the experience gained by being a student-athlete, Herah is not only a coach but also an entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses including a recording studio and a loan and pawn shop.

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