3rd Fastest in the United States!

Scripps Ranch High School student Alex Barr (above) loves to run and it shows! Though he had experience as a soccer player—for Marshall Middle School, SRHS, and club teams—he’d never been in any type of running competition. That didn’t stop him from coming in 12th out of 248 freshmen from Southern California who were competing in the Mt. Carmel Running Shoes race in September. His SRHS varsity track coaches were surprised and happy he did so well so early in the season.

He finished the year in like fashion, receiving a fifth place award at the CIF San Diego finals at the end of May. With a running time of 4:21 for the 1,600-meter race, he bested his previous record of 4:25. [U.S. high school state federations use 1,600 meters instead of a “mile” because tracks are now 400 meters, thus four laps equal 1,600 meters, which is nine meters short of a mile.] With all grade levels participating, Alex was the only freshman who ran in the 1,600 event. This boosted him to a national rank of third in the United States for 9th graders!

Raised in Scripps Ranch, Alex attended local schools—Jerabek Elementary, Marshall Middle, and now Scripps Ranch High—and enters his sophomore year in September. He ran a bit and was known for his speed on the soccer field, but his true running talent didn’t emerge until 2013. In November he earned his SRHS varsity letter and, subsequently, the jacket.

“My mom’s family encouraged me to take up running as a competitive sport. They knew I was a fast runner, and I like to try new things.” He practices six days a week, five on the school track and one on Saturday where he runs around his block. While he runs, he thinks of new strategies to increase his speed and tries to heed his coaches’ advice: don’t over train, and take it easy on the workouts.

“Even though I like to run,” Alex says, “there are times when it gets painful—like on the third lap in the 1,600-meter runs. But having mental strength and just wanting to win keeps me going, even if it hurts once in a while. I try to stay on my schedule and keep my fastest time for the actual races…I can’t run as fast as possible every day, so I concentrate on putting out 100% effort on race days.”

Which does he like better, track or cross country? Cross country is fun, he says, because he gets to run on different trails, but they tend to be longer races, usually more than three miles.

“So if I had to pick one, though I like them both a lot, I would say track. The races are shorter and I really like to hear my teammates and the crowd cheering me on. It helps me push through the pain to try and win each race. It is a great sport.” Alex continues to love soccer and as a freshman played for the SRHS JV team. He also plays competitive soccer for the Scripps Ranch Soccer Club.

Asked if he has any sports heroes, he says, “My heroes are the folks I look up to on my team, senior varsity runners who have been so helpful in helping me train and inspiring me to do my best.” And he’s very grateful to Coaches Chuck Warren and Dean Fledderjohn for their help in increasing his speed.

He still finds time for fun—skateboarding, going to movies, watching a little TV, and spending time with friends. With organized practice over, Alex will have more time to enjoy Scripps Ranch’s “quality of life,” starting with the 4th of July. He’ll be running in the 10K.

Elinor Reiss