US 14-year-old middle schooler runs a 16-minute 5K

US 14-year-old middle schooler runs a 16-minute 5K

On June 2, the 14-year-old female runner broke a world junior age-group record older than herself. Sophia Rodriguez of Dallastown, Penn., was the first female finisher in the open 5,000m at the John Hay Distance Festival, completing the race in an impressive time of 16:22.30 to break the U14 5K world record by two seconds.

Rodriguez’s world age-group record is just one of many accomplishments for the eighth-grader this season. Her time her is the fastest among high school girls this year, and she’s not in high school yet. Earlier this season, she won a state middle school championship for two miles and set a U14 two-mile world age group record of 10:20.68 at Nike Indoor Nationals in March.

What made her record-breaking run more remarkable was she raced the day before at the Hoka Festival of Miles in Missouri. She completed a mile run in 4:50.20, securing a fourth-place finish against 17- and 18-year-old high schoolers.

The previous record of 16:24.28 was set 19 years ago by British youth running phenom Emily Pidgeon. Pidgeon had a promising junior career but struggled to excel at the senior level, eventually retiring from running at 24 after missing a 2012 Olympic bid.

The young star will be back in action on June 14 at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, Wash., in the girls’ high school mile. The Brooks PR Invite is considered one of the top track meets for US high school runners.

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