When north Leawood resident Jack Lucas was 3, his parents encouraged him to participate in the annual Chicken Run at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, a 1/8 mile loop around the grounds. Lucas came in second. And then the next year he came in first. And then he did it again.
“That’s kind of where we found out he really liked to run,” said his mother, Jean.
Now 9, Jack has already assembled an impressive list of feats of speed. In fact, his record-breaking performance in the 400-meter at the Hershey’s Track & Field Games state meet earned him the right to represent the entire region in the Hershey’s North American Finals in early August. Jack ran the 400 in 1:07.11 — fully two seconds faster than the previous record, which was set by Kyle Wells of Junction City, Kan., back in 1993.
Jack also won the 400 meter in the 10-year-old boys division at the AAU Regional Qualifier in Joplin, Mo., in June. His performance there qualified him for the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines next week.
Jack, who attends St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village, now trains with the Hot Feet Track Club, meeting a few times a week at SM South and SM East. He says he loves learning how to run faster.
“You have to be concentrated,” he said. “Good form and keeping a good pace. You have to keep your head straight and your arms moving up and down.”
Such competitive spirit runs in the Lucas family. His parents, Jean and Andy, were both high school athletes who met at a mountain bike race in Missouri. The whole family now cycles.
“The competitive gene runs deep with us,” Jean said.