by M. B. Miller
Driven. That’s the best way to describe Alice Lloyd’s Jimmy Noble. You can see it in his eyes. You can feel it in his voice. He wants to win, and it’s obvious that he has the necessary hunger and passion to do just that. Some athletes get by on sheer ability, and others have one, all-encompassing talent that brings them across the finish line; but, for Jimmy, he gets there by his strong will, athleticism, and sense of purpose. You can’t coach those things. Some people are just born that way.
If you ever lose track of Jimmy, you’ll see him running on-campus or on the shoulder of the road. He runs with a determined look on his face and a steely gaze. It’s as if he’s trying to run away from something or someone, but what’s certain is that he won’t stop until he’s managed to do it. There is no quit in this young man. He’s a fighter.
“I credit that to my parents,” Jimmy says. “They push me every single day. Whenever I feel like I’ve done bad, they are always there in my mind to push me and help me grow as a person.”
Jimmy’s parents — John and Ruth Noble — raised him in Buckhorn, KY, a scenic and close-knit little town deep in the mountains. He first became interested in running as a kid, after he’d won second place in a race. For the last seven years, Jimmy has made running his primary focus, and, in that time, he has achieved great success. Coached by his brother, John Noble, Jr., Jimmy represented Buckhorn High School in state competition for four straight years. In his senior year, he was named to the All-Region Cross Country Team and was ranked #4 in his area.
Since coming to ALC, Jimmy has had some stellar results. This season he placed 2nd in the Knott County “Run for Change” 5K Race and 3rd in the UPike Invitational. In the latter race, Jimmy picked up a bronze medal. “It felt good to win it,” he said. “It was my first college medal.” He placed some emphasis on “first.” He’s a quiet, somewhat shy, and soft-spoken fellow, but he’s serious about what he does — he plans to keep right on winning. And, as he sets personal record times with each race, it’s clear that Jimmy has a taste for it now.
“I’m motivated and determined,” he said, his voice growing louder. “I set my mind on a goal and stay focused on that. Right now, Greg (Randolph; Noble’s teammate at ALC) really pushes me. We have two totally different styles, but we learn from each other. We make each other better.”
Alice Lloyd’s Cross Country team has made excellent progress with the additions of Noble and Randolph. Gary Stepp, ALC’s tenacious Athletic Director and Cross Country Coach, stays hot on the recruiting trail, and Jimmy has been right there with him, helping his coach build a promising team. Jimmy insists that the current season is going to end well and that next season will be even better due to the fact that everyone has room to improve.
“I’ve got big goals of my own,” he continued. “I want to get my 5-mile time down into the high 27s or low 28s by the end of this year. By my last two years in college, I want to make it to the National Championships.”
He says he wants to run in the Olympics someday, too, so the guy dreams big. And why not? He knows what he wants, and he doesn’t hesitate to pursue it.
About Coach Stepp, Jimmy says, “He’s a really good coach. He’s a good motivator, and he knows what he’s talking about. He always encourages me and asks me to do better if I’ve not done as well as he knows I could in practice or in a race.”
Jimmy picked Alice Lloyd because it was a small school occupying a small campus. It felt like home to him, a place where you never meet a stranger. And he liked the fact that academics always come first at ALC. At ALC it’s not just about running; it’s about growing as a person and being a success on and off the track.
“It’s like one, big family,” he says.
It’s clear that he belongs to that family in every way.
ALC congratulates Jimmy on an excellent Cross Country season! We can’t wait to see what all he will achieve next year.