It was only five months ago that 8-year-old Malverne resident Jace Richards began running in the USA Track and Field events. Yet there he was last week, running in front of thousands at the Hershey National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships in Lawrence, Kansas.
Jace who is a third grade student at Davison Avenue School, ran the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter races, placing 36th in the country for his age group in the 400 meter race. He finished it in one minute and 20.4 seconds, and beat his own previous record for the 400-meter dash.
Prior to running in USATF events, Jace ran for Our Lady of Lourdes’ track team. “That is where his love for track began,” said his mom Jo Liz Richards.
Jace runs ‘unattached’ in the USATF events, meaning he isn’t running under any organization. His parents enter him in the meets themselves. Before the Kansas event, Jace took first place in the 100m, 200m and 400m races at the USATF Long Island Association meet, which qualified him for regional competition at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts in early July. There, he qualified in all three of his events to run at the USATF Hershey National Jr Olympics at the University of Kansas.
Jace is very dedicated to the sport, his mom said, and runs every chance he can. He loves competition, and has always wanted to be one of the fastest kids in the country.
When asked who is his running idol, he responded, “Usain Bolt, because he is the fastest man in the world. That’s why they call me baby bolt.”