Many local runners completed their first half marathon in the SETMA Pleasure Island Bridge Half Marathon on November 9, but one in particular had everyone else in awe.
Most of us thought 8-year-old Zethan Pierce must be lost, but he wasn't, he had planned to run the SETMA Pleasure Island Bridge Half Marathon.
"She told me. Do you want to run a half marathon? I was like wow! okay I'll do it. Sure. And then I'm like wait, I want to do it and so that's how it happened," Zethan said.
Before the race, Zethan hadn't really run that much. His mother, Timori Pierce explains, "He started running about two years ago and in a 5K and he really liked it he got second place in his age group."
So to train, Zethan went to Parisi Speed School a few times a week. Pierce says, "He was also the soccer practices keeping himself moving and active we didn't train for this is much as we could have."
The longest training run Zethan had was only six miles. That's less than half of the 13.1 required for a half marathon race. But he didn't let the lack of long runs stop him. He says he had a plan, "I said from the beginning if I walk I'm going to walk after six miles. So after six miles, I said to myself, I'm gonna keep on running."
He crossed the finish line with a time of 1:55:45. That's almost 20 minutes faster than the official US Track and Field record for an 8-year-old runner. There are four requirements to get an official record. SETMA Pleasure Island Bridge Half Marathon race director, Richard James III, explains, 'It has to be Chip timed. Which it was. It has to be witnessed in which a cyclist with him the entire distance. Has to be on a certified US Track and Field course. And it has to have a US Track and Field official present from the corporate office to witness the event. Which is what we're missing. For this record for US Track and Field."
This particular record may not be official, but Zethan's medal is. He won first place in his age group. His mother says he has the drive to do whatever he sets is mind to, "he's competitive with himself and with others and he wants to be the best."
And he was better than most of us out on the course. He came in 53rd out of 145 half marathon runners. His mother is very proud saying, "He's is amazing. I'm in awe of my son."
All the other runners were in awe too. When Zethan ran up and over the Pleasure Island Bridge, he was not lost, he was definitely in the right place and he most certainly had the right time. His goal was to finish in under two hours. But he didn't even know he broke a record. This 8-year-old is not standing still for long. He already has another goal in mind. He wants to run a marathon when he is nine. He turns nine in December. His goal for that race is under four hours. There is no doubt he will accomplish that goal to because it seems Zethan was born to run.
Race organizers are still looking into the possibility that Zethan's time might qualify as an official record for another governing body.