Simon Kearns, a local 12 year old, will be going to the Indoor Youth Track and Field National Championships in Largo, Md. March 9 and 10, to compete against a possible 24 kids.
Kearns has only been running since last fall, he said, but he really enjoys the long-distances. He'll be competing in the 1500 meter and the 3000 meter races there. He's run only four times on an indoor track, he said, and it's a little different than running on an outdoor track.
"The track is smaller on an indoor track, so there's more laps," he said.
Kearns ran in the indoor track regional race in Flagstaff, Ariz. in order to get to go to the nationals."You had to place in the top six, and I got 5th," he said. He will be representing the Western Region while he's there, along with five other runners. There will be 19 running in the 1500 meter race and 16 running in the 3000 meter race, he said.
Kearns said that the pacing is also different for an indoor track. There is much more strategy involved, since the track is smaller and the other runners are right there with you. He will be running with 13 to 14 year olds, he said, but he is still the shortest one there.
The middle-schooler has been training with the high school team here in Mancos, learning and listening. Sometimes when he's running, he likes to be by himself; other times he enjoys the camaraderie of a team.
"I prefer trail running," he said, "But I like running on a track, too."
On his own, he said, he runs about 30 to 35 miles per week. His dad, Todd, and his brother, Asa, have been good coaches and role models for him.
At the nationals, he hopes to place in the top six runners. Then, he said, he can go on to be an All-American. After the race in Largo, middle school track will start in Mancos, of which he'll be a part.
"There is a half marathon in Shiprock in May that I'll be running in," he said, "and a 15-miler in Leadville in June."
Simon is the son of Todd and Kate Kearns.