Six-year-old Keelan Glass entered the Showdown Half Marathon in Fairview, Texas, on Saturday hoping to finish the race and raise money for charity. She ended up not only finishing, but setting a national age-group record with a time of 2:46:31. She also became the youngest person to complete a half marathon, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.
The first-grader finished fifth of 10 in the 14-and-under category and was the only competitor under 12. Her achievement has immediately become a polarizing topic in the running community, with supporters praising her accomplishment and critics questioning the long-term effects of such a race on someone so young.
Glass' parents told The Dallas Morning News they had consulted with an orthopedist before allowing her to compete. However, Dallas-area pediatrician William Moore expressed his concerns to the newspaper.
"I think they're asking for trouble," Moore said. "There's a lot of potential for bad things and not a lot of potential for exceptionally good things to happen."
For her part, Glass has her mind set on running a full marathon by the time she's 10. Her mother expressed her reservations about the new goal, citing the need to do more research before allowing the increase in distance.