4 Children Ultra Running Phenoms You Haven’t Heard of…Yet

Just as when women first joined the run­ning com­mu­ni­ty, and ‘pro­fes­sion­als’ warned they shouldn’t run because of poten­tial dam­age to repro­duc­tive organs, when chil­dren start­ed join­ing the ranks of ultra­run­ners and turn­ing in record-break­ing times, there was talk about high mileage stunt­ing growth and caus­ing phys­i­o­log­i­cal prob­lems. We now know that all that con­cern is a load a bull. Chil­dren have proven that—baring any pre-exist­ing conditions—running high mileage affects them exact­ly the same as it would any healthy adult. Let’s take a look at some of younger run­ning phe­noms in recent years and mar­vel at what these chil­dren have showed us they can do.

Budhia SinghBud­hia Singh
By age three (nope, not a typo. Three.), the India-native Bud­hia was the youngest per­son ever to fin­ish a marathon. By age four, he had com­plet­ed 48 marathons. Clear­ly, this child phe­nom drew atten­tion and celebri­ty with­in the run­ning com­mu­ni­ty, but his per­son­al sto­ry puts a very sad spin on his run­ning accom­plish­ments, great­ly tak­ing away from the excite­ment of them.

Born to a very poor fam­i­ly, Budhia’s moth­er sold him for 800 rupees, and he was even­tu­al­ly tak­en in and adopt­ed by a man, Biranchi Das, who became his marathon coach.  After alle­ga­tions of exploita­tion of Bud­hia, the Indi­an Child Wel­fare offi­cials became involved. Mr. Das was mur­dered in 2008 under unre­lat­ed terms. Bud­hia now lives in a gov­ern­ment-run sports hos­tile and is still phys­i­cal­ly active, but he does not run extreme distances.

Colby WentlandtCol­by Went­landt
This 12-year-old may be the youngest indi­vid­ual to com­plete a 100-mile race. This spring, Col­by com­plet­ed the Ride The Wind 100-mil­er in Las Vegas. Col­by cov­ered the miles and 7,000 feet of ele­va­tion gain in 32 hours, sev­en min­utes, and 30 sec­onds. Although offi­cial records are only kept for U.S.A. Track and Field mem­bers on USATF cer­ti­fied cours­es, it is believed that Col­by may be the youngest to have com­plet­ed a 100-miler.

Winter VineckiWin­ter Vinec­ki
Just this year, Win­ter became the youngest com­peti­tor to com­plete a marathon in Antarc­ti­ca. The 14-year-old endured ‑13 degree Faren­height tem­per­a­tures to com­plete her impres­sive feat. She was the 11th fin­ish­er and third over­all female, with a time of 4 hours and 49 min­utes. Win­ter isn’t plan­ning to stop there either. Run­ning in hon­or of her father who died from prostate can­cer, Win­ter aspires to become the youngest indi­vid­ual to com­plete marathons on all sev­en con­ti­nents. Con­sid­er­ing that she’s already got the hard­est one in the bag, it seems quite like­ly she will accom­plish her mas­sive goal.

Nickademus HollonNick­ade­mus Hol­lon
Nick­ade­mus may be the old­est one on this list, but his accom­plish­ment is still far beyond his age. Nick­ade­mus became the youngest com­peti­tor to ever fin­ish the Bad­wa­ter Ultra­ma­rathon in 2009, at just 19 years old. This Ultra­ma­rathon is known as one of – if not the – hard­est ultra around the globe for one rea­son: the heat. The 135-mile race takes place in the appro­pri­ate­ly named Death Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, where the hottest tem­per­a­ture on earth’s sur­face has been record­ed. The race even­tu­al­ly climbs 13,000 feet up Mount Whit­ney to the fin­ish line. On aver­age, there are few­er than 100 par­tic­i­pates in the race, and their aver­age age is 44.

Chil­dren have always been inspir­ing through their brav­ery, or per­haps naivety, and will­ing­ness to try so many new things, sim­ply because they haven’t yet been taught they “can’t.” If only this atti­tude could live on in us all – just imag­ine what we’d accomplish.