Owen Applegarth ran a 5K in under 23 minutes.
I honestly didn’t think second-graders could run long distances as fast as Owen Applegarth can. The 8-year-old completed the Tomoka Brave, Strong & Healthy 5K in 22:53 to place eighth out of 273 participants on Saturday, Feb. 18, in Ormond.
Owen was the only kid under 11 to finish in the Top 15.
He recently ran in the school’s Tomoka Mile Race on Friday — which pits all of the runners who can run a sub-eight-minute mile against each other — and also placed eighth out of 67 boys. He was one of only two second-graders who qualified.
Owen’s ability to run fast for long distances first caught his P.E. teacher Dr. Jamie Sheriff’s attention. After watching him run during a physical fitness test, Jamie immediately called Owen’s parents, Peter and Sandy, and told them, “This kid can fly, and he makes it look easy. It’s just effortless.”
Owen now runs in her running club every Friday morning.
He loves to run. He has already decided that he wants to make the Olympics and compete at the highest level. I know he’s not lacking the confidence to get there.
I told him how I had recently run a 5K in about 28 minutes. Owen looked at me and said, “My worst time was around 27 minutes.” I don’t think he took my feelings into account with that statement.
Owen has a spirit animal — the peregrine falcon. He chose this falcon because it is the fastest animal on land. When he gets injured or needs motivation, he might speak to this spirit, whom he says guides him.
His father asked him what does he say to the falcon, and Owen replied, “It’s personal.”
I thought I could get a couple words out of him, but he agreed that it was none of my business either.
Maybe one day we might know the details between this young lad and his Rafiki-type spirited friend. But, until then, let’s just enjoy his journey as he continues to fly on the track.