11-year-old takes on 13-mile race

Jun. 17, 2014 @ 02:16 PM

Caleb Rash, 11, started running for the opportunity to go to a party, but instead he found a passion. On June 1, he tackled his first half-marathon, the Charity Chase in Hickory, where he placed fourth in his age category and 280th out of 500 overall. He was the youngest participant.

“It was fun. I think it was a cool accomplishment for me to do,” he said.

Caleb began running last year in the fourth grade at Sawmills Elementary Schools. Coach Phillip Harkey encouraged his students to join his running club and said if they ran two races, they could attend a party. But Caleb went well beyond two races; during the past school year, he completed 10 5K runs and one 8K as well as the half-marathon. In his last 5K, he placed 20th overall out of an estimated 180 participants.

His father, Wayne Rash, also started running, and the activity has become a regular, bonding, father-and-son hobby.

“He’s a running machine,” Wayne Rash said. “I wasn’t running before then, but he got me started. It’s been neat to have something we could do together.”

Together, they run along the Lenoir Greenway, around Redwood Park in Hudson and down the Catawba River Greenway in Morganton. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they run 3-4 miles, and early in the mornings on Saturdays, they run 8-9 miles.

“It’s good exercise, and I think it’s fun to do, just to get out and run,” Caleb said.

Caleb also enjoys soccer and basketball.

“If it involves running fast in a sport, he likes it,” Wayne Rash said. “He’s not into baseball, but soccer and basketball he can run up and down the courts and fields a lot, so he likes those.”

Caleb said he still has some work to do when it comes to running in half marathons. During the Charity Chase, he had to stop along the way because he felt sick.

“I puked a couple of times. The water didn’t settle in my stomach,” he said.

He said he will keep running half marathons and work up to a marathon. One day, he wants to run in the Boston Marathon.