MADISON, Ala. — More than 100 athletes across the Tennessee Valley of all ages registered for the inaugural Parker Track Club track meet on Saturday. The proceeds, helping more than two dozen of the club’s runners, who qualified for the Junior Olympics, get to Texas for the event.
“I was expecting, you know, 10 to qualify. 27 qualified! Top 8 go. It’s a very good experience for them, they’re going to have a great experience going to Houston Texas,” Parker Track Club leader Ezekial Parker said.
Parker is also an assistant coach for Bob Jones High School’s track team, where the meet was held.
Parker says his nonprofit itself serves one purpose:
“Its to help get kids off the street, having something to do in the summertime, something to have fun with,” he said.
Parker actually revived the track club nearly a decade ago. His father starting it when Parker was a child, to keep him and his friends out of trouble.
“We started building and building and I got the chance to go to the Junior Olympics. Once I did that, I went to Louisville, finished my career, and I came back and my nephew started running, so you know what, Im going to do the same thing my dad did me,” Parker said.
Parker Track Club was re-born about seven years ago. Parker’s nephew, Joe Quez Parker, is following in his uncle’s footsteps this year, as one of the members who qualified for Junior Olympics.
“I’m feeling really good, I know I can go and compete with the top people in the country,” Joe Quez said.
He says he is grateful to his grandparents and his parents for pushing him. He’s also grateful for the club, and the principles that come with it.
“It teaches me discipline, teaches me how my mind can control my body in many different ways,” he said.