Ultra kids: Is distance running safe for your 12-year-old? The medical community is divided

Colby Wentlandt ran 26.2 miles for his 12th birthday. He’s followed by his father, Marine Corps Master Sgt. Brady Wentlandt and Ed Ettinghausen. (Courtesy of Lynne Cao Photography)

I met Colby Wentlandt at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, Calif., in July. His father, Marine Master Sgt. Brady Wentlandt, was there to crew and pace Ed Ettinghausen at the Badwater Ultramarathon and Colby was soaking it all in.

He’s now an ultrarunner himself, at the ripe old age of 12.

What were you doing at 12? Probably not finishing 100Ks. (And if you were, we want to hear about it.)

Military Times staff writer Patricia Kime caught up with the Wentlandts for a recent OFFduty story.

She writes:

Last year, 11-year-old Colby Wentlandt sketched out his running goals in an online blog called “A Mile with Colby.” They included “a marathon when I am 12, a 50-miler when I’m 13 and a 100-miler when I’m 14.”

Less than a year later, Colby, the son of Marine Master Sgt. Brady Wentlandt and Shawna Wentlandt, has checked the first two items off his to-do list and is closing in on the third.

Colby is an ultrarunner, a member of a unique club that eschews the conventional 26.2-mile marathon distance in favor of longer, more grueling runs. On Jan. 1, he completed 56 miles of a 100-plus-mile race in Glendale, Ariz.

Two months later, he ran 100K — 62 miles — at another race.

“On reason I like running is you can’t blame anyone else for having it go wrong. It’s all you, the blame and the accomplishment,” Colby said during a recent telephone interview from his Warner Springs, Calif., home.

Read the rest of Patricia’s story here, and follow Colby on his blog, A Mile with Colby.

Sara Davidson

Sara Davidson is an ultrarunner and contributor to PT365. She's run 7 marathons and 32 ultramarathons -- including her first 100-miler. This fall she is training for the Marine Corps Marathon using our PT365 Run Plan. Reach her at sdavidson@gannett.com .

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