On Saturday, September 9, Jaden Merrick ran the Park to Park half marathon in Cedar Falls in a total time of 1:30:41 seconds. On Sunday, September 17, he ran a 10 mile run in Des Moines in a total time of 1:11:24. Those times are impressive. What's even more impressive is that Merrick is 9 years old, and both races were world record setting runs.
"It went great. Yeah, it took quite a bit of training," he says.
In 2014, Merrick set a world record for the fastest 5K by a 6 year old. In 2015, he set another world record for fastest half marathon by a 7 year old.
During this Talk of Iowa conversation, he talks with host Charity Nebbe about how he trains, pre-race nerves, and his long-term goals. His dad, Brent Merrick, and Dave Lipinski, who is race director for Park to Park also join the conversation.
Jaden started running because Brent ran as a hobby, and Jaden wanted to join him. Brent says that soon they realized Jaden definitely had natural talent.
"I like going out to run trails, and I do 5Ks and 10Ks and half-marathons," says Brent. "He wanted to come with me one day, so we let him run around the house at first. He lasted way longer than I thought he was going to.
Even on Jaden's long run days, he runs in zone 2 heart rate, and even on his easy days, I cannot keep up with him."