Kurt Downes came to Windsor extra than two a long time back and observed a house.

a man standing next to a fence: Kurt Downes, shown in Windsor, ON. on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, was recently named Community Builder of the Year by Canadian Running magazine.

© Supplied by Windsor Star
Kurt Downes, proven in Windsor, ON. on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, was just lately named Group Builder of the Calendar year by Canadian Functioning magazine.

The Scarborough indigenous arrived in 1998 to contend for College of Windsor Lancers monitor and industry staff and is now firmly immersed in the place as an elementary college instructor and head coach for the Border Town Athletics Club keep track of and subject plan.

“It’s 1 of these points the place I’m in this article, I teach in this article, I are living listed here and mentor listed here,” Downes said. “Windsor’s home.”

And in his time here, Downes has still left an impression that has been acknowledged by Canadian Operating magazine, which named him its Golden Shoe Awards winner for 2020 as Community Builder of the Calendar year in its Jan./Feb. concern .

“I was incredibly shocked that I was even nominated,” Downes claimed. “Honestly, I have in no way been a media variety of particular person. I’m sort of stunned by the outpouring.

“It was variety of ridiculous to me. I’m not applied to this type of factor. I choose the young ones receiving the stuff. I’ve experienced so many individuals send out messages and they imagine really of me and that’s awesome.”

It was a tough year in 2020 for every person and those people in the track and field group have been no distinct. Downes was teaching Canadian men’s 800-metre file holder Brandon McBride for a next shot at producing the Olympic Games.

But when competitiveness was shut down for McBride as effectively as Border Town athletes competing at the club amount, Downes went looking to check out and locate some thing positive to make out of a negative predicament.

He observed it by placing with each other a digital Women Can Summit Series that drew 18 higher-degree woman personalities in keep track of and industry and other sports.

Proceeds from the event ended up made use of to sponsor 90 young Black ladies in between the age of 10 and 14 in Windsor and Essex County. It also presented a teaching session at Elite Instruction Units, alongside with new sneakers and a personalized monitor and subject bib.

“Instead of sitting down again and wondering, ‘Not a great deal I can do this 12 months,’ he got to operate and created a little something out of nothing,” stated Anne Francis, who is editor of Canadian Managing journal. “It really touched us how fully commited he was to helping the little ones he was training to uncover the opportunity alternatives in the entire world of keep track of and field, specially women.”

For Downes, it is merely a prospect to give again to other individuals in numerous of the exact same strategies he acquired assist escalating up.

“I was a person of those people youngsters,” Downes stated. “A lot of moments, they are appreciative and occasionally you see matters in these young children that could be you. It’s possible they just require encouragement or determination.”

From his begin in Scarborough to Toronto St. Michael’s higher faculty and then to the University of Windsor immediately after a 12 months of what he calls ‘floating’ at Ryerson University.

“I had a large amount of persons pour into me,” Downes said. “I assume I’ve always been fortuitous. I have experienced some outstanding mentors men and ladies.”

He won a nationwide title with the Lancers less than the late Dennis Fairall and it was the late Gary Malloy that acquired him associated at the club stage.

“I think you occasionally hear from athletes who could have grown up without having a good deal and without having folks like Kurt,” Francis said. “It might be one personal that states something to a child growing up to encourage them and that boy or girl carries it with them. It may well just be an mindset, an act of kindness or a kind word that seriously will make a big difference in life when they are having difficulties with key challenges.

“That’s what they try to remember their complete life. These little acts of kindness don’t often get regarded. For me, it is the human factor and the person tales and that personal influence final result in creating a champion a number of a long time down the line. I find people stories seriously impressive.

“A whole lot of people today throughout the nation are deeply committed to charity and younger sport and there had been a person or two other folks (regarded as for the award), but we seriously favored Kurt’s approach the best. He does it with an amazingly modest method and mindset.”

And Downes is hoping to maintain operating on the summit with hopes of a person day also producing a scholarship to the College of Windsor.

“A ton of it was favourable and there is so many things  we can do,” Downes reported. “I would enjoy for it to develop into a little something greater and give scholarships and options to kids and younger coaches. There are a large amount of different items we can do.”

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