March 27, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - On Sunday, March 4 when J.T. Service took his mark at the starting line at the Los Angeles Marathon, he had two goals in mind. Service, an assistant coach for the Santa Clara track team and a law student at Santa Clara was running in hopes of fulfilling an athletic goal of qualifying for the 2008 USA Marathon Olympic Trials, and his social goal of serving the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center (KGACLC) in San Jose, Calif. Service placed an impressive sixth place with a time of 2:24.57 behind five elite Kenyan runners, but finished just over of the qualification time of 2:22.00 for the Olympic Trials.
"In the end the results were bittersweet," Service began. "Finishing 6th in a major marathon was beyond my wildest goals. And in terms of the charity, the race was won before it even began. In fact, I am hoping to make "Swift Justice" a year round charity. In the end, I think "running for justice" can be something the whole Santa Clara Community could take part in."
Born and raised in San Jose, Calif., Service excelled in both cross-country and track & field for the Archbishop Mitty High School Monarchs. Taking his intense passion for running and life down south, he went onto have a successful career at UC Santa Barbara in both sports before returning to his hometown to attend law school at Santa Clara University.
Training harder than ever this year, Service has recorded personal records at almost every distance bringing the dream closer to reality. Service competed at the 2007 USA Cross-Country Championships in the high altitude of Boulder, Colo. Despite being significantly disadvantaged due to training at sea-level, he still finished 35th in one of the deepest fields in U.S. Cross Country Championship history surrounded by past Olympians and National champions.
"Every coach at Santa Clara stresses the importance of 'mental toughness' in their sport," said Tom Service, head coach of the cross country and track teams at Santa Clara. "Successful distance runners take this concept to the nth degree. Last Sunday J.T. was incredibly mentally and physically tough in the Los Angeles Marathon running against a quality field. He was cheered on in several different spots by a very proud Mom & Dad."
On March 4, Service attempted to fulfill his Olympic Trials goal at the L.A. Marathon, but before the gun went off he worked to fulfill the charitable goals of the Community Law Center. Service has been working at KGACLC in the worker's rights division. Recognizing the powerful service the Center provides for people every day, he has decided to help raise much needed funds for a law center that serves those who cannot afford an attorney, and that without the help of KGACLC, their legal problems - involving job security, financial stability, immigration status, or even basic physical safety - would be left unaddressed.
KGACLC operates with nearly a dozen full-time staff and is funded largely by non-university dollars. It advises, counsels, and represents low-income clients on legal issues involving workers' rights, workers' compensation, immigration, and consumer protection. Service is running the L.A. marathon in the name of KGACLC and in the honor of the people that fight for low-income individuals who too often do not have a voice.
"I want to thank all of my friends, family, and community members for their support of 'Swift Justice' and The Katherine and George Alexander Community Law Center (KGACLC)."