As my companion Sue and I did a workout of 6 X 800 on the Batavia High School indoor track this morning, we noticed that a couple kids had showed up with their parents to run. Between intervals I jogged over to playfully bop the young man on the head and ask, “Are you awake yet?”
It was, after all, just 6:15 in the morning on a school day. The kid smiled and assured me that yes, he was indeed awake.
His name is Ryan Kredell. At 13 years of age he has already run a 5:18 mile. And that’s going into his 8th grade season.
Accompanying him on the workout was a 12-year old girl named Andrine Larsen. When complimented on the beauty of her first name, she smiled as her father Tormod said, “It’s Norwegian.”
Initially I had called the group a family, but both parents corrected me. “We’re two different families,” they laughed. “We’re not married,” the parents said. So I asked Ryan and Andrine, “Are you two married then?”
Ryan made a face and Andrine just dropped her eyes, chagrined. “Noooo….” said Ryan. My own children will testify that I have long enjoyed creating embarrassment for middle schoolers. Some things never change.
Ryan had come to the 200 meter indoor track at Batavia to run 400 repeats. His efficient stride, rapid turnover and good biomechanics in running form gave away the fact that he has already been running for three years. “I train with the Accelerators,” he told me.
This spring Ryan will be competing in distance events in track. He runs for Geneva Middle School South (GMMS) and made sure that I got that right. “We don’t want to give any credit to North,” he laughed. The two schools enjoy a healthy rivalry even though they feed into Geneva High School. Looking ahead, their former rivals would become teammates.
Andrine possesses an equally quick running stride. Even with her tiny frame she generates a ton of speed and has already run a mile in the 5:40 range. “That’s fun,” she admitted. “But I like cross country even better.” This spring she’ll be doing distance events and relays.
Ryan placed 10th in cross country nationals this past fall. Andrine placed 4th. Andrine is heading to indoor track nationals in Washington, DC this March 13-15th.
Ryan finishes seven of his scheduled ten 400s and calls it a morning. It’s time to head off to school, after all. Perhaps there might even be a breakfast in between. You know how it is with runners. They’re always hungry but sometimes they even forget to eat.
Seeing the future of running is such a joy. Celebrating the fitness of youth is equally so. Watching these two kids tear around the track with focus and purpose should give everyone hope about the future not just of running, but for the world. And that’s what it’s all about.