MARATHON — Jeffrey Tait's time of 45 minutes, 53 seconds in
the 23rd annual Seven Mile Bridge Run was quite impressive for
any serious runner. That's an average of 6:40 per mile, which
would make even the seasoned runner proud to accomplish.
Now picture this: Tait is only 9 years old and has been
running competitively for just more than a year.
"I didn't want to go out too fast today, but it turns out I
went out a little bit faster. So I just tried to maintain that
pace," Tait said. "I'm pretty pleased with this distance since
it's the longest I've ever run."
Not a serious runner according to stepfather and training
partner, Jon Williams, Tait quickly is raking in the
trophies, medals and accolades that an older runner might have
a tough time grabbing.
This kid is so good, he is promoting himself through his
own Web site.
But when you talk to Tait, you quickly realize he still is
Asked why he wanted to do the run, Tait said, "I like to
run races. It's fun. I've never run a seven-mile race before,
but this was fun."
According to Tait's Web site, http://www.jeffreyrunning.com/, he began
running when he was 6 years old and cross-trains to become a
better, more recognized athlete.
He currently is soliciting sponsors, is available for
public speaking engagements, coaching and as traveling
A third grader, Tait said he wants to run a marathon some
day. But Williams is not pushing him, as he fears it will
hamper his growth.
Meanwhile, Tait will continue to add to his collection of
over 35 trophies, ribbons and plaques from running, duathlons
Tait has been recognized nationally as one of the top
runners in his age group. Williams said they will still keep
everything in perspective.
"Jeffrey is really good and is probably has one of the top
10 5K times in the country right now in his age group,"
Williams said. "We don't train hard, we don't want to push too
hard. As long as he enjoys it, we're having a good time. We
train in the mornings before school. We normally run about
four to four and a half miles.
"He wants to run a marathon, but I told him he'd have to
wait until his 20s."
Williams, who ran in college and high school, stopped
running for 15 years and was just getting back into it when
Tait asked if he could tag along. He quickly realized that
Tait had plenty of talent and encouraged him to keep running.
"When I was 6, I ran a race and just stopped running," Tait
said. "I just started again. I really enjoy racing and am
having a good time."
For the Seven Mile Bridge Run on Saturday morning,
Williams' 41:19 was still better than Tait's time. Williams
knows, though, that it will not be long before the young
runner takes the lead.
"Luckily for him, I can still beat him," Williams said.
"It's lucky for him he's got someone faster than him to train
"But I know it's not going to be long before he beats me."
This story published on
Sun, Apr 25, 2004