CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The love for running lies deep within Nitro resident Ricky Campbell, though his passion to share the joys of the sport with others extends further.
Campbell, a 22-year-old avid runner, competes across the region and states beyond, but it's directing races such as Saturday's second annual St. Albans Quarter Marathon that provides him the greatest rewards.
The 6.55-mile run, to begin at 8 a.m. at the St. Albans Fire Department, is the first of three races held as part of running series established by Campbell to promote running in the town.
"I have tried pretty much everything to attract runners to the city of St. Albans," Campbell said.
In addition to the Quarter Marathon, the series includes the Nick Caldwell Memorial 5K on Nov. 16 and a New Year's Day 5K. Individuals who complete all three races receive a finisher's medal crafted in the shape of West Virginia.
Saturday's Quarter Marathon marks the second consecutive, but the series is a new endeavor for Campbell, a St. Albans graduate.
"This year, I received all three of my permits at the same time, and the idea just hit me," he said. "Why not make the three St. Albans races that I do into a series? Both Charleston and Barboursville do a series and they always have a great turnout. Why not St. Albans?"
The medal serves as a bit of motivation for those searching for an extra incentive to join the action.
"I've done many events in West Virginia and not once have I seen a medal in the shape of West Virginia," Campbell said. "Other races in other states do this; so why not us?
"It might not be a full marathon, but I'm going to make the runners earn it. If they run all three races: The Saint Albans Quarter Marathon, the Nick Caldwell Memorial 5K, and the Race Into the New Year 5K, they will earn that awesome medal. I believe that is a huge accomplishment and it deserves to be awarded greatly. I want this series to be something that the city of St. Albans can be proud of."
Whether directing races or running them himself, Campbell is no stranger to the running community, one that he said continues to grow in West Virginia.