Virginia 10-year-old sets half-marathon record
JUN 01, 2014 2:12p ET
Reinhardt Harrison is no casual runner when it comes to road racing.
"Running is his passion," Dennis Harrison told ABC News while discussing his son.
Besides being his passion, it might be his ticket to stardom at some point down the road.
On May 25, Reinhardt set what is believed to be a world record for the fastest half-marathon by a 10-year-old when he clocked 1 hour, 35 minutes, 2 seconds during the Alexandria Running Festival half-marathon in Virginia.
The performance was good enough for 55th place overall in a field of more than 900 finishers (the winning time was 1:13.28), and apparently wiped out the recent mark of 1:37:15 by Noah Bliss of Kenosha, Wis., which the Association of Road Racing Statisticians recognized last month as a world record.
Dennis Harrison, 54, is a volunteer running coach in Falls Church, Va., so it's hardly surprising that his son has been interested in the sport since a young age. When Reinhardt would beg to be allowed to try a half-marathon, his father told him to wait until he turned 10 -- which seemed far off at the time.
Reinhardt put the time to use, building a base that prepared him for such a challenging race.
"He's actually beating me now," his father told the network. "I keep telling him I still got a few more years. I might be able to get faster. Age is not on my side."
While the recent performance may have raised concerns from critics who argue children shouldn't run long distances, there's a growing school of thought that an occasional long race is safe for someone who has prepared carefully.
"In a normal, healthy kid with no injuries, there's nothing we know of right now that says participating in these events would lead to growth plate or other injuries," said Dr. Alex Diamond, a sports medicine expert at Vanderbilt University.
Diamond said making sure the child is self-motivated rather than pushed by adults is extremely important.
"It sounds like the family really did handle this very nicely," he said. "This is a highly motivated, unique kid."