ST. GEORGE — Elizabeth Rose is not your average half-marathon runner.
The 8-year-old Bloomington Elementary student has been training for the Snow Canyon Half Marathon for three months and said she is looking forward to finishing the 13.1 mile race in about 2:15.
With school throughout the day, Elizabeth trains in the morning before she leaves for school. While most people are sleeping or preparing for work, Elizabeth is running. She normally runs for about an hour or so in the mornings, with her longer runs ranging from 8 to 10 miles. These runs take between one and two hours to complete. She said that’s the hardest part of her training regiment.
Her dad, Dennis Rose, said he has her on the training program for an elderly adult. There is plenty of downtime for her body to recover, and he makes sure to never push her to do anything. She runs at her own pace, and Dennis only challenges her if she feels up for it.
“When she did the first triathlon when she was 3, it was May, the water was 62 degrees and it was six in the morning,” her father said. “Nobody told her to do it, in fact we tried to say that if it was too cold, don’t do it. If you say that maybe I shouldn’t do it, it drives her more to do it.”
Elizabeth ran the Snow Canyon 10k in March, completing it in 47 minutes and finishing in first place in the 13-year-old age grouping since there was no younger age group. She was also the youngest competitor in the Swiss Days 5K when she was 3 years old.
“That’s showing her that hard things aren’t that hard,” Dennis Rose said. “That’s the whole gist behind everything that everybody does in triathlons or endurance sports. It is hard, and if it wasn’t hard then everybody would do it.”
Dennis also has a passion for running and sees it as a way to bond with his daughter.
“It’s crazy important to me because she’s my child, we’re able to bond,” he said. “For her to actually enjoy doing what I do is beyond imagination. It has been a blessing.”
Elizabeth is looking forward to the half marathon on Saturday, but running these races is nothing new to her. Lining the walls of her bedroom is a massive collection of medals – one that even rivals her father’s. This is her passion, and she plans on pursuing running through middle school and into high school.
Next time you’re at home on a Saturday morning watching television, you might look out your window and see young Elizabeth Rose on one of her 8 to 10 mile runs.
The Snow Canyon Half Marathon begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.
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