A little over a year ago (December 2014), Jerry Hughes hired me to be his running coach. It all started because I had a Christmas special on my “fly solo” online training plans. When we first started working together, we have only met each other once or twice in person before that.
What’s amazing is that after about a week or two of following my running program, Jerry bought a training package with me for his wife. To me, this meant a lot because he originally started out as an online client and he trusted me with his family after such a short time of knowing each other.
I knew that Jerry, just like the clients before him, would improve significantly as a result of my training plan. I predicted that he would be a lot faster.
Prior to starting his training program with me, Jerry’s best 10k time was 44:53 at the 2014 TC 10k in April and best half marathon time was 1:36:12 at the Goodlife Fitness Half Marathon on October 12, 2014.
When he started training with me, he was just getting over a few injuries that kept him from running to his full potential, which at the time, neither of us were fully aware of.
The one thing I knew about Jerry is that he works very hard, he’s not afraid to ask questions and he knows how to follow instructions. That, to me, is a prerequisite to success.
Jerry Hughes and Yana at Mile O after completing their 63km run for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.
Photo by Ian Simpson.
Fast forward to April 26, 2015, which is about 4 months after he started training with me. Jerry ran his first ever sub 40 min 10k, finishing the TC10k in 39:41. At that moment, I knew that bigger personal victories are ahead of him.
Shortly thereafter, Jerry ran a half marathon personal best of 1:27:45, which is over 8 minutes faster than his previous best time.
As we continued to work together, his list of accomplishments continued to grow exponentially.
Together, we have raised thousands of dollars for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.
Help Fill A Dream is an immediately responsive charitable foundation based in Victoria, British Columbia. They provide hope, help and happiness for Vancouver Island children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions by fulfilling their dreams, improving their quality of life and assisting their families with care and financial support.
We also ran from Duncan to Victoria together in order to raise funds and awareness for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.
I witnessed him come within 2 minutes of qualifying for the coveted Boston Marathon. Jerry ran his first ever marathon in 3:11:48, which is a significantly faster pace per km than he used to do for his 10k.
Most recently, he has been achieving one personal best after another in all distances across the board. His new 10k PB is 38:46.
Above: Jerry on his way to a new 10k personal best. Photo by Lois DeEll
His 10k time is now officially ~6 minutes faster than it was when he started training with me. This equates to about a 40 second per km improvement as a result of my training and his continuous dedication and commitment to excellence.
Jerry’s story is very remarkable in that he takes away all the excuses people make when it comes to working out. On average, he works over 60 hours a week. He works as a chef, which means that he spends his entire work day on his feet. Not only that, but he and his wife also have 2 young kids.
However, that’s not all he had to overcome to get to where he is. Jerry was born with a rare aggressive genetic disorder called Gardner’s Syndrome. When not diagnosed early enough, the prognosis is not very good. It claimed Jerry’s dad’s life when he was very young.
Despite all the challenges that Jerry was facing, his results speak for themselves. He never ever complained and he always put in the work that I told him to do. Jerry had every reason to make excuses, but he never ever did.
I created a plan that was tailored to his work schedule and circumstances and it worked.
What was his secret? It was a combination of a proper training plan and a genuine desire to achieve his goals no matter what curveballs life throws at him. He persevered in times when other people would have given up.
This is what Jerry had to say about our journey so far:
“Rarely in life do you meet someone that will change the course of your life forever. That day happened to me when by chance I saw a running coach that was super passionate about training runners. That was Yana Hempler. She was the first person that really believed in my abilities. Her encouragement and programs have changed me and inspired me to follow my dreams. I’m now able to talk in front of people live or in front of the camera. We have done charity work together and will continue to do so forever. There have been so many things I have accomplished due to her training from climbing 40,000 stairs, ultra marathon 55km, 12000 ft elevation, 2 marathons. One of the marathons I did was 8 days after doing the 40,000 stair challenge. Participating in Yana’s program has really changed me. My future with running has evolved into crazy marathons, ultras, and biking all to raise awareness for Gardner’s Syndrome and conquering cancer. I really believe if I never met her none of this would have happened. Thank you, Yana Hempler.”
I’m extremely proud of everything that he has accomplished so far. It has been amazing to watch him develop into a confident individual who thrives on public speaking and inspires many to follow their dreams. Jerry’s dedication, hard work and persistence deserves to be recognized.
People often say that the trainer inspires the client. That’s not always a one-way street. Jerry inspires me in more ways than I can express in this post.
From the bottom of my heart, Jerry, thank you for trusting me to be a part of your journey and I look forward to seeing what you will do next.
Want to achieve amazing results too? Let’s connect and I will help you get there.