INCLUDED in the nearly 5,000 fans inside the National Stadium on Saturday night enjoying Natoya Goule's brilliant, well-paced run in the final of the women's 800m where she ran a personal best and IAAF World Championships A qualifying 1 minute 59.93 seconds was her personal coach at Louisiana State University (LSU), Mark Elliot.
Elliott, who still owns four Jamaican national distance records, admitted he enjoys watching the former Manchester High athlete run, just like a fan. "Her personality exemplifies how she runs and it is exciting to watch her run, and I am enjoying it just like everyone else," he told the Jamaica Observer.
Elliott is still the record holder in the 3,000m, running 7 minutes 55.78 seconds in 1989, the 10,000m in 28 minutes 32.44 seconds in 1989, the indoors 5,000m in 13 minutes 43.34 seconds in 1990, as well as the 10K road race in 29 minutes 47 seconds in 1991.
The former St Jago High athlete, who is the assistant head coach at LSU, described Goule, the LSU record holder and NCAA Division One champion, as "a unique athlete", and admitted it is "very easy to make her coach look good".
Elliot said Goule, who has represented Jamaica at every level including twice at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2008 in Poland and 2010 in Canada, "has immense talent which you all saw in high school and now it's just trying to slowly but surely move her to the next level".
Her breakout run on Saturday could not have come at a better time or place, he said, as despite their plans for her to go under two minutes since the NCAA final in Oregon in early June, Saturday was near perfect.
"It has always been the goal since the NCCAA final for her to break 2 minutes and tonight with the weather being so nice, we just said let's go for it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not."
The plan moving forward, he said, was for her to get on the Jamaican team to the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mexico next week where he hopes she will get quality competition and hopefully run faster, then one more race before heading to Moscow.