Former Williamstown track and field coach Jack Jones remembers Ryan Jobes erasing a 60-meter deficit as the anchor of the 4x400 relay and leading the Yellowjackets to victory at the 2003 state track meet.
That's just one of countless memories which will be revisited when the seventh annual Ryan Jobes Memorial 5K takes place Saturday morning in Williamstown.
"This event should serve as a celebration and a reminder on how great of a person Ryan was," said Chris Beck, who is a board member of WIN (Williamstown Improvement Network), which has run the event in conjunction with the River City Runners and Walkers Club the past two years.
Jobes was an accomplished athlete, student and citizen who graduated from Williamtown High School in 2004. As a Yellowjacket, he competed in track, cross country, tennis, basketball and golf. He won gold medals in the 400, 800 and 1600 as Williamstown won back-to-back state track titles in 2003 and 2004. During his senior year, Jobes was named the Ray McCoy Track Athlete of the Year for the state of West Virginia.
"Ryan was a great tennis player as well as in basketball, too," Beck said. "He was just a super athlete."
On the afternoon of Dec. 20, 2005, during his sophomore year at Richmond University, he was returning home for the holiday break. While traveling on Interstate 64 in Beckley, W.Va., the car he was driving struck the rear of a slow-moving tractor-trailer and went underneath the truck.
Jobes, who was 19 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene.
" I was just stunned when I heard the news," Jones said. "I thought, 'This can't be.' He had his whole life ahead of him. He had a whole future to be lived.
"The day of the funeral was awful - that was a tough day."
For several years, Jobes' mother Brenda Jobes coordinated the 5K Memorial.
"Ryan's mother was instrumental in initiating this event, and worked really, really hard," Jones continued. "A lot of community members were involved. It was huge."
It was not uncommon to have several of Ryan Jobes' past and present teammates from college, along with Richmond men's track and field coach Steve Taylor, make the trip to Williamstown for the 5K Memorial.
Last year when a total of 202 runners and walkers completed the course, ex-Richmond Spider 3K Steeple All-American and 2009 West Virginia Track Athlete of the Year Andrew Benford placed first in the men's division, while another former Richmond 3K Steeple All-American Nicol Traynor set a course record for the women's division after winning in a time of 17:45.
"This is not really about how much money we can make for (WIN); rather it's more for giving people an opportunity to get together and remember Ryan," WIN president Bernie Buttrey said. "Ryan had such a dynamic personality and was such a wonderful kid. You couldn't find anybody who didn't love him."
Runners and walkers can register either in advance, or on race day beginning at 7 a.m in the old gymnasium at Williamstown High School. The start gun goes off at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast to follow at the conclusion of the race.
The cost is a donation of your choice. Checks may be payable to "Ryan Jobes Memorial." Additional entry forms are available at www.whswin.com, www.rivercityrunnersandwalkers.com, On The Run and Walk, and the YMCA.
For more information, contact Kevin McCleary at 304-488-3286 or by email at email@example.com.
"I think it is important for the whole community and the whole area to remember who this young man was, and what he represented," said Jones, who lived down the street from Jobes in Boaz. "He was certainly an outstanding athlete who cared about his teammates and set a good example by his work ethic. He was a good student and respected by his teachers and by other students.
"He set a nice example and a fine standard for others to strive and reach."