Cayman’s one-man track team is preparing for his biggest race of the year.
Kemar Hyman, the lone Cayman athlete to qualify for this year’s World Championships, is training for the meet and looking to stand out among the world’s best sprinters. The World Championships will be held next week in the sweltering conditions in Doha, Qatar, where Hyman will be racing in the 100m.
Hyman, 29, has run in the World Championships on three prior occasions, but he said the timing of this year’s competition is a little different. The meet is in late September, extending his season and also affecting how he will prepare for next year’s Summer Olympics, which will be held in July.
“This is new to me and I guess everyone else,” said Hyman. “I can’t remember the last time the season was this long. We’re really running fast about four days a week, and the other days are recovery, which is also part of the training regimen. Maybe I take off a Saturday or something like that.”
Hyman, who finished fifth in the 100m at last year’s Commonwealth Games, said he’s beginning to alter his training routine. Now, instead of completely resting on his off-day, he takes a walk or does something else to remain active. He reads books to take his mind off track and he makes sure to stretch consistently, all in the interest of extending his career and his racing prime into his 30s.
“I’ve seen numerous athletes that continue to be consistent at 33 or 34, and I’ve seen the opposite, where guys are in their prime at 26 or 27,” said Hyman, who earned All-American honours in his college career at Florida State University.
“You’ve got to take care of your body all the time and you’ve got to come out of your comfort zone and try different things. If you’ve been getting massages, maybe you need to get some chiropractic work. Coming out of your comfort zone opens different opportunities.”
He’s currently training in Tallahassee, Florida, for the World Championships, and Hyman said he will race in Doha on 27 Sept. He arrives just four days ahead of the preliminary heats in the 100m, which will give him time to settle in before he steps into the starter’s blocks for the first time.
Hyman, at this point in his career, is all about simplifying things that were previously complex. He’s well aware that he competes in a sport that is decided by hundredths of a second, but he prefers to think about the things he can control instead of obsessing over tiny intervals of time.
“It’s not about running a time but more like getting through the rounds,” said Hyman. “At first, it was always about the times, based on the statistics that if you run this time, you’ll get to the finals.
“What I normally try to do now is just think, ‘I need to win,’ and I just focus on that. I keep telling myself, ‘If I win the race, I know the time will come.’ This is the World Championships. If I keep winning my rounds, I have the opportunity to make the finals. And the next opportunity is to get a medal.”
Hyman is looking forward to representing his country and staking his claim as the world’s fastest human, but he admits that he dreams of a day where he will not be the only Cayman competitor.
“That’s something I spent a lot of time thinking about in the past,” he said. “When I see other countries like St. Kitts, they have a team. I always wanted one day where I’m still in the sport and I have three other guys doing exceptionally well. We can go to the World Championships and it will be four of us and we can run a relay. I’m hoping for that day to come where we can have more Cayman Islands individuals making a name for Cayman in bigger groups. It might still be small, but it will be four instead of one.”