Simon Kearns, a Mancos 12-year-old, will be going to the Indoor Youth Track and Field National Championships in Largo, Md. where he will compete this weekend among the nation's best.
Kearns has only been running since last fall, but he enjoys the long distance events. He'll be competing in the 1,500- and-3,000-meter dash races. Kearns has only run four times on an indoor 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 qualify for nationals.
"You had to place in the top six, and I got fifth," he said.
Kearns will be representing the Western Region, along with five other runners. There will be 19 kids running in the 1,500 and 16 running in the 3,000.
Kearns said that the pacing is also different for an indoor track. Since the track is smaller, there is more strategy involved in running on the indoor track. Kearns will also be running with 13- and-14-year-olds, and he says he will be the shortest one there.
Even though he's only 12, the Mancos Middle School student has been training with the Mancos High School team. Although he enjoys the camaraderie of a team, Kearns also likes running by himself.
"I prefer (cross-country) trail running," he said. "But I like running on a track, too."
On his own, Kearns runs about 30 to 35 miles per week. His dad, Todd, and his brother, Asa, have been good coaches and role models for him. Asa Kearns competes on the MHS track team.
At nationals, Simon hopes to place in the top six runners, so he can go on to be an All-American.
After the race in Largo, the middle school track and field season begins, and Kearns will run for MMS. He will also compete this summer.
"There is a half marathon in Shiprock (N.M.) in May that I'll be running in and a 15-miler in Leadville in June," Kearns said.
Simon is the son of Todd and Kate Kearns.