RBR Interview: Dwayne Harms on VS Athletics Super Clinic, by Larry Eder

First, if you are within six hours of Sacramento, CA on Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21, get to the VS Athletics Super Clinic, you can pre reg for $50 at vsathletics.com. Meet & Greet on Friday, and Clinic on Saturday! Headliners are Dr. Joe Vigil, Peter Thompson, John Godina and LaTanya Sheffield! Also note Danny Gruber, aka Danny Dog (one of my old training partners), coach of Brett Gotcher in high school, will also be speaking!

Peanut, aka Dwayne Harms, one of the iconic figures in Northern California running for the past four decades, asked me to write about the VS clinic. In return, he gave me an interview. Nut is a tremendous athlete, coach, father, husband, and my friend. I have been lucky enough to hang with the Aggies and Nut for many years and, well, I always feel better afterwards, (well, after the hangover goes away).

A quick story. It is New Orleans, 1992. Mr Green and the Men from Modesto, one of Harm's personalities, is shaking the walls of some building in New Orleans. Our son (not Peanut & mine, mind you), Adam, then all of five, is crashed on my lap, totally asleep, as Mr Green is just cranking out the toons. I can not move, as I am afraid to wake up dear Adam. Friends are coming by, kissing the little trackster and giving me Blackened voodoos, a local elixir similar to a dark beer. Adam, now 25, believes that could have been his start to his seven years in metal bands. 

I submit to you, dear and gentle readers, an interview with the man, the legend, my brother from another planet, Dwayne Harms. We covered philosophy, art, VS Athletics Clinic. Thanks, Nut! 

Dwayne Harms, from the Peanut Harms Art collection

RBR, # 1. How did you get started in running?

Peanut Harms: In High School when I did well in the President's Physical Fitness Test (remember those?). I had to choose between Juvenile Delinquency and Running...pretty easy choice....wise too!

RBR, # 2. When did you want to be a coach?

Peanut Harms: Very early, even before High School, when I experienced first hand the difference a Coach can make in a kid's life.

RBR, # 3. What do you love about running?

Peanut Harms: To quote Hendrix AND Richie Havens......FREEDOM Man!

RBR, # 4. What do you love about coaching?

Peanut Harms: The power and ability to make a difference in a kid's life EVERYDAY....contribution...most importantly, Paying It Forward. As life goes on it is rare to be able to say "Thank You" to everyone who helped you along the way...by helping other kids I am saying "Thank You" to all of the people who helped and continue to help me.

Pat Devaney & Dwayne Harms (did you know that Shawshank Redemption was based on their relationship? well, no, but hey, taking some artistic license), photo: Dwayne Harms Art Collection

RBR, # 5. Tell us about the VS Super Clinic?

Peanut Harms: I have been to a Million Clinics and know the Power to Impress and Influence they present. Many states have HUGE Stand Alone Track & Field/XC Clinics (Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan)- CALIFORNIA does not. When I was first getting in to Coaching I used to go to the National T&F Clinic in Palo Alto...500 T&F Coaches would show up....that disappeared and with it disappeared a place for T&F Coaches to meet, socialize and exchange ideas....& positively influence the sport and the kids. I have a Vision to bring all of that back...the VS Athletics supported Super Clinic is the platform for that Vision.....I envision a Two Day Clinic held at a Major Hotel (Casino) with over 500 Track & Cross Country Coaches attending....we are closing in on my Vision with 300+ expected for this year's clinic.....Dave Shrock of USATF Coaches Education shares this vision.

RBR, # 6. Why should coaches be there?

Peanut Harms: The Clinic is an Super Inexpensive ($50 for the clinic & $50 Hotel Rooms!) Jam Packed Educational Opportunity featuring some of THE Best T&F Coaches in the Country.  In these days of dwindling Experienced Coaches an Opportunity like this allows a Head Coach to bring their entire staff and in ONE DAY take care of the Training they would normally spend 3-4 days doing. I am LOCKING my assistants in their respective "Event Category Room" and telling them "don't come out until you have all of the knowledge you need to get the job done when the season starts!". This is why we have a Nationally Known Figure, a College Coach, and a High School Coach teaching in each room.

RBR, # 7. Give us four top clinicians?

Peanut Harms: All of our Speakers are Top Clinicians! Dr. Joe Vigil in Endurance, John Godina & Suzy Powell in Throws, LaTanya Sheffield in Sprints/Hurdles, Dr. Ernie Gregoire in the Jumps....you are unfair to limit me here!

RBR, # 8. Any social activities?

Peanut Harms: You forget, I am the Unofficial Ambassador of Fun!....This is a News Flash, not yet released,....On Friday Evening (the Clinic is on Saturday), at the Cantina Restaurant on Jibbom St. in Old Sacramento at 8:00 we are doing something I have not seen done at any clinics I have gone to....we are having an informal Meet & Greet the Speakers AND Vendors for those "local" people registered for the clinic. Big Announcement Coming at www.vsathletics.com.

RBR, # 9. What is best Olympic Trials race you have EVER seen?
Peanut Harms: Just You Tube "US Olympic Trials 800m Finals" and sit back and see what it is REALLY all about...yes, my best event was the 800m. Second would be the Aggie Centipede 5k in New Orleans in '92...Joe Vigil coached that group of 13 athletes (?).

RBR, # 10. How do people get signed up for the VS Super Clinic?

Peanut Harms: Just go to www.vsathletics.com....Remember, with Southwest offering cheap flights into Sacramento, $50 rooms at the La Quinta (walking distance from the Social!) and the $50 clinic fee.....this is a Must Attend Event for Coaches of All Levels...

Bare chested coaches: (Note that Peanut has removed the Russian battleship Ptotemkin, which used to cover his chest), photo Dwayne Harms Art Collection 

RBR, # 11. Can God make a rock even he can't move?

Peanut Harms: This would entirely depend on if he was out with the Aggie Running Club the night before!

RBR, # 12. When is John Godina running a marathon?
Peanut Harms: John Godina told me that if his Camps, Throwing Schools, Clinics, etc. were not going well he may prepare for 2016...this was right after he told me his Camps, Throwing Schools, and Clinics were going VERY well!

RBR, # 13. Should coaches go to a clinic at least once a year?

Peanut Harms: Any Coach who is committed to helping Young People not only should go to a clinic every year (or get involved in the USATF Coaching Education or USTFCCCA academies) but should feel OBLIGATED to be as Contemporary as possible in not only Event Specific Training but also the latest Greatest Conditioning and Fitness Developments. I am certain this is a Responsibility all of the Great Coaches share.

In building the VS Super Clinic Program we want to make sure the Clinic Experience is Fun, Educational, Social, and Offers (through the 16 Vendors we have coming) Contemporary Information on New Products which can help them do their jobs better & serve their athletes better.


Editor's note: I love this man, in a purely platonic way, but, seriously, give up your Super Burrito this weekend, and a case of Pabst and you can pay for coming to the clinic, so come on!

The soiree on Friday should be something to see, we hear that Peanut may give a lesson in belly dancing....You meet the coolest people at coaches clinics and track meets.

Big Announcement Coming at www.vsathletics.com

Leave a comment

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Subscribe to RunBlogRun's Global News Feed

* indicates required