April 30, 2017- San Francisco, CA
|Coach Jim Tracy|
The 3rd annual Jim Tracy 5k to Defeat ALS was a wonderful day for a run in Golden Gate Park. Filled with energy and passion, over 200 high school students and community members came together to honor the memory of San Francisco University High School (UHS) cross country coach, Jim Tracy.
Jim touched countless lives during his 40 seasons at UHS. His unwavering dedication to his athletes’ success helped the UHS program to win 13 state cross country titles and four straight California Division V cross country titles from 2009–2012. In recognition of his accomplishments, Jim was inducted into the San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame in 2013, and was the subject of an award-winning documentary, Running for Jim. Jim applied that same disciplined mentality to his fight against ALS before tragically losing his battle to the disease in 2014.
“From the very first day of practice, I could tell that Jim’s dedication to ensuring the success of our cross country team was sincere and came from the bottom of his heart,” says Ana Telfer UHS ’17, Chair of the Jim Tracy 5K Coordinating Committee. “Coaching was more than just a job for Jim; it was a passion. He believed in training, not talent, and every person on his team worked daily to surpass their potential because they bought into his philosophy.”
“Every runner on the team was saddened by the tragedy of his condition,” Ana continued. “But I think that we were also inspired and intrigued by his no-nonsense attitude and his apparent lack of self-pity.”
“When Jim’s condition really started to impact his functionality, he would sometimes express his frustration that there still was no cure, despite the fact that ALS has been studied for so long. So he started doing his own research and talking to those who were involved,” remembers University Athletic Director Jim Ketcham. “He developed a real appreciation both for the difficulty of the situation and also for the progress that they were making, and he soon volunteered himself for every single medical trial he could. He never lost faith that one of these trials would be successful. Unfortunately, he passed before that happened, but he would be so proud of our runners and the whole running community for supporting this cause.”
Organized entirely by UHS students, in partnership with The ALS Association Golden West Chapter, the annual 5K run is held in memory of Coach Tracy, to celebrate those who are fighting ALS, as well as those who are working tirelessly to advance the search for effective treatments and a cure. Sponsors included San Francisco University High School and UpCycle Builders.
With more participants than any previous year, the group raised more than $12,000 in support of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter and their vision to create a world without ALS. This year’s event is a particularly poignant one, as the event organizers and participants who are graduating seniors represent the last class of students who were coached by Jim.
“It is only together that we will defeat ALS, and there is no better example of collaboration, dedication, and determination in the fight against ALS than that which we see from the community of San Francisco University High School,’” says Fred Fisher, President and CEO of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. “Our ongoing partnership with UHS and the annual Jim Tracy 5K to Defeat ALS are essential elements in our efforts to increase ALS awareness and advance global research, local care services, and important public policy initiatives—all of which play a role in the search for effective treatments and a cure for this devastating disease.”
The event received wonderful coverage on CBS- KPIX news both before event day and after. Leadership at UHS and the Golden West Chapter are committed to continuing this annual community event to remember their most decorated coach and dedicated mentor. For more information or to make a gift in support of the fight against ALS, please visit our website: www.JimTracyALS5K.org