No hill too steep: Taylor-Ashley Bean said the cross country training in Virginia has been easier in ways because the terrain is flatter than Bermuda. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
No hill too steep: Taylor-Ashley Bean said the cross country training in Virginia has been easier in ways because the terrain is flatter than Bermuda. *Photo by Ras Mykkal

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24: Taylor-Ashley Bean is not your usual track athlete.

The well-liked former Warwick Academy student has parlayed her success into a track scholarship at Virginia State University.

But while she’s hitting the road in training for her university, Bean does not have Olympic glory dreams like many of her Bermuda teammates might.

Instead, Bean wants to focus her energies on some day helping give back to the sport by being a coach.

Last year she won a bronze at the Carifta games in Cayman Islands.

She will be one of the medal hopes for Bermuda when the games are held here in April.

Don Burgess interviews her in the first in a series entitled Carifta Countdown. Bermuda’s track and field athletes will be highlighted every Wednesday in the Bermuda Sun.


 

How did you get your start in track and field?

My father, Wayne Bean, is a former marathon athlete and he allowed my sister and I to run in the Pro Shop races and Telford Magic Mile. We started to win races and he continued to keep us in the sport.

When you were younger, what were your favourite events to do?

I was a sprinter, or I liked to think I was a sprinter, so the 200m and 400m were my favourite events.

What were your favourite track meets?

I liked to do the Pro Shop mainly because they gave you Easter eggs and little medals.

What was your first Carifta Games like?

I was 11-years-old. I was quite nervous because I was the youngest. I was nervous and scared but I knew I had a job to do so I just put my best foot forward. I did the 400m and I think I came second from last.

How did you transition from sprints to middle distances?

I started to lose races. My older sister, Alexis, started to do longer distances and my dad found it easier to train us at longer distances since he used to do it.

How important is it for you to do well when Carifta is in Bermuda next year?

I’m very excited…and I want to make my contribution so I want to do well. I want to get on the podium, but other than that I want to show my country I can do it. I want to show it doesn’t take a Jamaican to beat me or somebody else to beat me.

What do you remember about the 2004 Carifta Games in Bermuda?

Usain Bolt breaking the junior world record in the 200m. It was very exciting and so unexpected to have that happen. It was a marvellous sight to see as a young athlete to watch someone who isn’t even 20 run such a fast time.

Besides your dad, are there any other Bermudian athletes you look up to?

When I was younger I looked up to Flora Duffy a lot, but right now my biggest inspiration is Aaron Evans. We have a very close relationship since he’s like my track brother. He’s helping put Bermuda on the map collegiately and that’s what I want to do while I’m in college.

What are your international track aspirations?

I have to be honest and say the Olympics is not my goal. After college, I would like to run at the Commonwealth Games, but other than that I want to help other athletes. I want to become a college coach or a track and field coach back in Bermuda – those are my goals for the sport.

It’s unusual to hear someone say that the Olympics isn’t a goal. Why not?

It’s never been a passion of mine. I love the sport completely, but the Olympics isn’t for everybody.

What’s cross country like at university?

The coaching style between my coach in Bermuda, Gerry Swan, and coach Jackson here is very similar. That’s one of the reasons why I picked Virginia State. The terrain is different — in Bermuda there are a lot more hills. I do a lot of running on the roads because they don’t have a lot of parks. I believe back home it is a little more intense because of the terrain.

Carifta Countdown