Meet Alana Hadley, the top sixteen-year-old long-distance runner in the country. She has won countless races and logs in about 110 miles per week. Not to mention, homegirl wakes up every morning at five a.m. to run five miles and then goes to school. Now that's what I call dedication!
Recently, Alana competed in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon (which is 26.2 miles) and finished after two hours, 58, minutes, and 22 seconds. That is an average 6:48 minutes per mile! She was one of the few women who finished the marathon in under three hours. What an accomplishment!!
From Runners' Space Website
So why doesn't she use this gift for her school's cross country? Alana says that the cross country competitions at her school only focus on 5Ks (3.1 miles) and 10Ks (6.2 miles). She wants to run longer distances and feels like running for her school would delay her development for her ultimate goal of running the marathon event in the Olympics.
From 2011 Foot Locker Cross Country
However, she does receive some backlash from critics who think that she is running too much too young. Her dad, who is also her coach, has slowly added miles into her workout. He also uses a lot of strength training as well. Dr. Cathy Fieseler, a primary care sports medicine physician and the president of the American Medical Athletic Association, says that unlike most young athletes, Alana is balanced. She says that kids get hurt running when they increase their training too quickly, but Alana's father has been careful about this. Not to mention, there is no evidence that proves running at high mileages at a young age is necessarily wrong.
Alana hugging father, Mark Hadley. Taken by Siner/Charolette Observer
So, why is Alana Hadley Fit to Inspire? Because of her determination and balance. This is seen in her school work (where she receives top grades), at church (where she leads a weekly Bible study), and, of course, when she is running. Alana sets a goal and completes it. So look out for her at 2016 Olympics, she may be running for the USA!
Jon W. Adkisson for the New York Times