Viral video inspires film on inspirational coach
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The 12th Annual San Francisco Documentary Film Festival kicks off Thursday and this year, one of the films is directed by ABC7 News I-Team investigator Dan Noyes. It tells the story of the most decorated high school cross country coach in California, San Francisco's Jim Tracy, and his battle with Lou Gehrig's disease.
When San Francisco's University High School cross country runner Holland Reynolds collapsed from dehydration only feet from the finish line, but mustered enough strength to crawl to the finish, the amazing video inspired a nation.
Holland says her coach, Jim Tracy, inspired her to make that famous finish. He had just been diagnosed with the devastating disease ALS. "Starting the race, we all knew that we had to run as fast as we could, as far as we could, for Jim. And, I think that that was reflected in my finish," Reynolds said.
"It meant that she and I were on the same page all the time, the achievement page, the let's do something important, let's get it done page," Tracy recalled.
Three years after Holland's finish, Tracy now uses a wheelchair but is still coaching young athletes. His story has inspired a new documentary called "Running for Jim." The film follows Tracy from the track to medical appointments.
There are many championship pennants in the San Francisco University High School gym and about 30 have been won by Tracy's runners over the years. All modesty aside, he says there's a reason for that.
"I didn't want my illness to get in the way of all the kids are going to achieve because when you're working with young people, you want them to achieve. You want them to understand that there's a world of achievement out there. It's all just right ahead of them," he explained.
I-Team reporter and film director Dan Noyes' own father-in-law suffered from ALS, a disease with no cure. "That's the whole point, is to raise awareness, to raise awareness and to raise money for research, and also to raise money for Jim as he battles this disease," Noyes said.
Tracy says movie or not, as long as he's able to, he'll keep going to work to do what he loves the most.
movies, viral video, i-team, dan noyes
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