YOUTH ATHLETICS 3rd-6th Grade
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7 yr Old Stone Smith Sets Records
October 30, 2012St. Lukes Episcopal School
MOBILE, Alabama - Stone Smith has a definite goal in mind for the 10-kilometer race at the Wells Fargo Senior Bowl Charity Run on Saturday. He wants to run "under 46:41" for a simple reason, he said: "Because that's the state record."
The state record for 7-year-olds. That's Stone's age.
So watch out, Wade Glass. On Oct. 1, 1983, Glass finished a 10K race in Demopolis in 46 minutes, 41 seconds to set the Alabama record for a 7-year-old. Almost 30 years later, he still holds it.
Stone is matter of fact about breaking the record on Saturday.
"Probably so," he said. "I've trained for it, I've practiced, and every race I did, I did pretty good."
Good enough for the St. Luke's second-grader to hold four state records in a little less than one year of running. Stone set the 10K record for 6-year-olds of 47:38 in March, the 5K record for 6-year-olds of 22:19 in April, and the 8K record for 7-year-olds of 35:13.6 earlier this month. His record in the 2-mile for 7-year-olds is pending.
Stone is the son of Clay and Christi Smith of Mobile. He started going to road races after a physical-education instructor noted the youngster's running ability and recommended that his parents let him try a race. He started with the Turkey Trot 5K to benefit Camp Rap-A-Hope in November.
"What happened was, he started running at school and was doing pretty good," Stone's father said. "At the same time, I was trying to watch what I eat and exercise. And I sort of started training to run a 5K. It kind of just happened that that was the next race. We went, and I said, 'Hey, Stone, let's try to do it. If we have to stop and walk, that's fine.'
"Then they shot the gun, and I never saw him again. And I was running fast. I was worried about him.
"There're a lot of people who do these races every week. One of the kids who was taking karate with Stone, his dad called and said, 'Hey, did you know Stone almost broke the record or broke the record for 6-year-olds?' I didn't even know that there were records for 6-year-olds. That was when we got on the website and, sure enough, he broke the record."
"It was nice," Stone recalled of his first record-breaking run.
He liked it, so he's stuck with it. He ran Saturday in the Dog River Ghost Chase 5K, an event in which organizers encourage the participants to run in costume because of the race's proximity to Halloween.
Stone finished seventh overall running in a costume made by his mother. His character? The Flash, of course.
"I was hoping I would win with that outfit," Stone said. "I was hoping it would make me run faster. I was surprised I made a personal best in all that wind. My time was 21:16."
Then he noted the state 5K record for 7-year-olds is still 22 seconds better than that.
Stone said he trains for his races at school and at home.
"I run every Monday and Friday at school," he said. "If we don't at school, I get with my dad and go running."
Stone ran with St. Luke's third- through sixth-grade cross country team, even though he's a second-grader. He finished fifth, fourth, eighth and sixth in the meets this season.
"I was the first person to reach 100 miles in our running program (in physical-education class), so they let me on the cross country team," he said.
"What you do is you run 10 miles, which is 40 times around our track, and you get a little plastic foot every time you do it. When you get to 50, you get a big foot. When you get another 50, you get your second big foot. You just keep going."
Stone said he enjoys racing better than track training.
"I like running in the races because you have a couple of hundred people and you actually get, like, times," he said. "When you're running around the track, you don't. You're timing yourself."
Stone said he'd wants to keep running in races, although he doesn't have a long-term goal in the sport, just a short-term one: breaking the age-group record on Saturday.
His parents hope he'll continue to enjoy running, too.
"It's good exercise and it motivates both of us," Clay Smith said. "We never had run before until he started running. So it motivated us to run. And it's a good thing that I get to spend Saturday mornings with him in such a good father-son activity.
"We go to all the races together, but I've only beat him once."
Stone swiftly interjected he wasn't feeling well that day.
His mom confirmed that wasn't just an excuse: "He actually had a pretty serious stomach issue that we didn't know about until after the race."