Ramsey misses JO nationals but is third in San Francisco 5K

When Greensboro teenager Blair Ramsey chose to travel on a church mission trip instead of attending the USATF Junior Olympic nationals, she didn't leave her running shoes home. Advertisement | Advertise with Us

The rising eighth-grader at Guilford Middle School was the No. 3 female finisher and 13th overall Sunday in a 5K that was part of the San Francisco Marathon weekend. Ramsey, 13, finished in a personal-best 19 minutes and 13 seconds in a race with 1,637 finishers.

Ramsey is in California with fellow teenagers from College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro. Her leaders took her up on the idea of a side trip to the 5K, and a few group members and youth minister Lin Bunce joined Ramsey the race.

Ramsey qualified in the 3,000 meters (11:09) for the JOs in Wichita, Kan., but the opportunity to serve ranked ahead of the opportunity to race in a prestigious meet.

Absolutely. There was no question, says her mother, Terri.

The reason for being out there is service to the inner city, she says. That's just really important to her. That's where she is today. She's in a homeless shelter, in a soup kitchen.

Terri Ramsey says the family could've made the JOs and the mission trip both work, but Blair would had to have been scheduled to race earlier in the national meet.

Ramsey's next race is likely to be the Bryan YMCA Bookbag Breakaway 5K on Aug. 13, her mother says. Ramsey also is the defending champion in the Women's Only Run 5K, which will fall on the same day as the Hagan Stone XC Classic on Oct. 1.