MINNEAPOLIS — The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon weekend is fast approaching and there are plenty of events for families. And while the little kids’ races are adorable, some young people are running for real. We caught up with one of them recently.
Keep an eye on MJ — though it might be hard to do. The 13-year-old is super speedy. MJ is training for his second Twin Cities 10 Mile race.
Last year's 12-year-old pace…
“I did 1:09:42,” said MJ.
That's less than 7-minute miles. New year; new goals.
“I want to do it in under 1:02:30, and that's 6:15 average miles, so I think that's pretty doable,” he said.
Doable? For MJ? You better believe it.
Mom Jennifer says MJ grew up doing the Twin Cities in Motion family events. Diaper dashes, family one-milers and cheering on mom and dad as they both took on the big race, the marathon, many, many times.
“At about 6 or 7 I had to start biking with him to keep up. It just felt kind of silly to be this parent who couldn't keep up with their tiny child, but at the same time, it was just the coolest and most wild thing,” says Jennifer Fukuda.
Now, the 8th grader runs varsity track and cross country for St. Paul Central High School. He competed at the USA Track and Field Jr. Olympics this summer and has big aspirations for the future.
“My coach right now for like summer track is training for the Olympic Trials and I want to be doing that at some point,” he says.
For now, he's concentrating on the next race and school. MJ is also an "A" student.
As for his latest race, the roles are now flipped. Mom and family are the ones cheering on MJ and wouldn't have it any other way.
“Oh, my gosh, watching him run has been such a joy in our lives,” says Jennifer.
“For your kid to be so good at what they are passionate at, it's really rewarding,” she says.
By the way, if you want to introduce your kids to running, starting this year all kids run free. That means anyone under 18 can enter any of the events at no charge. Twin Cities in Motion says it's a priority to make the sport accessible to all.
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