Trinidad City Council member and retired Fortuna teacher Jack West is well known for his quiet determination and cheerful attitude about taking on a wide variety of service projects, among them helping with the annual Trinidad Club Beach Run, other Humboldt County events, and nurturing the skills of Trinidad School athletes.
Recently he received national recognition for his years of local youth running club work.
Ray Hamill wrote in the August issue of Humboldtsports.com that the Humboldt Redwood Running Association for Youth (HRRAY), founded 10 years ago to build interest in youth running, was named the Road Runners Club of America National Youth Club of the Year for 2020.
Jack West, who has worked with student athletes since 1993, was one of the club’s three founding members, along with College of the Redwoods cross country and track and field head coach Reed Elmore, and Blue Lake kindergarten teacher and running coach Sara Elie.
The number of local competitors from kindergarten to eighth grade has risen substantially since the club was founded, said Jack, especially in the last six years.
This past fall, 500 youth runners signed up for the season, with at least 400 participating in each of the six races.
Hamill quoted Jack: “It’s pretty impressive that many schools are involved now... I think a big part of it is we’ve managed to start promoting ourselves better and one of the highlights for us is we tend to bring in quite a diverse crowd. We have good runners who want to compete, and we have some runners who just want to have a good time. It’s a happy sport. Everybody at the meets is having a good time. We’ve got something going that makes these kids feel better.”
West and his colleagues are working on setting up virtual runs in these unusual times. The club has been organizing them monthly on its website, hrray.org, allowing runners of all ages to run the course of their own and then posting the times. Jack gives credit to Humboldt Sponsors, Arcata Sunrise and Six Rivers Running Club for much appreciated support.
The national award presentation will take place in Portland but has been put on hold for the moment due to the coronavirus. However, that doesn’t detract from the very prestigious honor received by the Humboldt Redwood Running Association for Youth.
Congratulations to Jack, himself a runner, who as a college student set mile records putting him in the Butte College Hall of Fame, and who ran the Avenue of the Giants marathon the year he married Jan West 27 years ago.
Email Patti at [email protected].