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At the Tokyo Olympic Games, Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson and American athlete Athing Mu went 1-2 in the 800-metre event at age 19. They did it again at the 2020 Eugene World Athletics Championships.

On Sunday, Kenyan Grace Nawowuna, raced head to head against Dutch multi-Olympic medallist Sifan Hassan, only getting dropped during the final 400m lap which Hassan ran in 60.86. Nawowuna took second in 29:47.42.

Norway’s Jacob Ingebrigtsen at age 16 became the youngest man in history to run the mile in sub-4:00. His career as a teen is full of global victories and records. He continues to run well now at age 22. He is an Olympic and Worlds multi-medallist.

The sport is rife though with teen proteges who stop competing early in their careers for various reasons.

Saturday in Nashville, Addy Wiley turned heads by running a big personal best in the 1500m going 4:03.22. She laid down a fast final 400m going 61.33 to win the pro section of the Music City Track Carnival by 2.57 seconds. She is now the fastest teen in US history over the distance. In that race, she won the NAIA title. She also won the 800m NAIA title the week prior. Alexa Efraimson, ran her lifetime best of 4:03.39 at age 18 in 2015. Mary Cain ran hers at age 17 in a jaw-dropping 4:04.62 back in 2013. Wiley is age 19.

Katelyn Touhy has torn apart Mary Cain’s university record book — once a great protege.

For university, Wiley has stuck close to home. The Huntington, Indiana native is attending Huntingdon University. At one point, she committed to Colorado University, which her current coach helped her get into. But she decided ultimately what worked was Lauren Johnson — her coach at Huntington. Wiley seems to be thriving. During the 2022 NAIA Cross Country Championships, she finished second to William Carey’s Lina May.

Addy Wiley, photo credit: Huntington University

In high school, she became the only Indiana girl to win an 800m and 1,600m double at the state meet. She did so twice.

“Why would I want to leave a coach who I have done so well with?”

First, she committed to Colorado, then backed out and stayed home and to work with the coach who has brought her success.

She said that the NCAA program was not for her “at this time.”

Wiley is also a cancer survivor. At age 10, she was diagnosed with an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumour, a rare condition that develops in children or young adults. The tumour is usually benign, hers was not.

She was a very active child, apparently constantly on the move, a cancer survivor and now one of the fastest all-time distance runners in the NAIA.

As a soccer player, in which she was an all-conference player scoring 21 goals. Wiley also played basketball. Sometimes there was scheduling conflicts in her various sports, so she began to choose. But that was enough. She wanted to also join the swim team.

Wiley also showed pigs and rabbits in 4-H. She was the vice president of her National Honor Society and participated in Junior Rotary projects such as packing lunches for kids or serving at the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Wayne.

She is a busy person. Who knows, perhaps if she can focus on one sport now that she is months away from her 20th birthday, she can truly get to the international level; she is very close.