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On Sunday, October 22, 11-year-old Sawyer Nicholson of Stouffville, Ontario set a new world single-age record in a 5K road race. She clocked 17:28 at the Niagara Falls 5K as part of the Niagara Fall Marathon weekend. 

Nicholson was also the outright winner of the race by well over a minute. The previous age-11 5K record was 17:28 set by Grace Ping in 2015.

Ping, from Winona, Minnesota, currently competes in the NCAA for Oklahoma State University. Ping’s best was set at age 15 at 16:25.63. She is a 12-time all-state athlete competing in soccer, swimming and athletics.

Nicholson’s previous best, set on October 15 in Toronto, was 17:59. She has also run the 3000m distance as fast as 10:34.62.

Pre-teens running well is nothing new though. For example, Australian Sophie Hall took two world records for the 11-year age over three days. Hall ran 1500m in 4:28.19 on January 24 this year. Two days later she clocked a 3000m time of 9:38.16. She ran the Victorian Milers Club meet 1500m, then the U14 Victoria Track and Field Championships in Geelong, Victoria. Both of Hall’s performances bettered Imogen Stewart’s world records.

Over the same weekend at the Hytteplanmila 10K in Hole, Norway, 12-year-old Per August Halle Haugen ran the second-fastest time ever for a 12-year-old male, clocking an impressive 33:18 (3:20/km).