A 13-year-old from Annandale, Minn., set a single-age world record on the weekend at the Brookings Half-Marathon in South Dakota. Salvador Wirth stopped the clock in 1:16:11, the fastest half-marathon ever run by someone his age and the second-fastest time on the day. He wasn’t far off the win, finishing just 28 seconds behind the first-place finisher’s top time of 1:15:43. Wirth ran an average pace of 3:37 per kilometre over the course of the 21.1K race, which was his first official half-marathon.
Annandale 8th grader, Sal Wirth, broke the half marathon world record for his age at a race in Brookings, SD! Sal's gun time was 1:16:12 (the previous record was 1:18:53). #Way2Go @milesplit pic.twitter.com/azKYExw7KL
— Annandale Cardinals (@AnnandaleCards) September 12, 2020
Eye on the prize
Wirth didn’t just happen to set the record — he knew the time to beat heading into the race, as his father told The Brookings Register before the event. According to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians database, the previous half-marathon best for a 13-year-old boy was 1:18:53, set by an Australian runner in 2013.
Earlier in the summer, Wirth ran a 1:18:00 in a virtual half-marathon, but since it was not run at a legitimate race on a set course, that of course was not ratifiable as a record. Even so, it gave Wirth confidence that he could top the existing record, which he accomplished handily, smashing the previous world best by well over two minutes.
Sal Wirth places 1st in the Mora cross country invite! pic.twitter.com/z2i9h33NsC
— Annandale Cardinals (@AnnandaleCards) October 9, 2019
The Register‘s report notes that the weekend’s half-marathon was Wirth’s first road race ever. Before Saturday, he had only run cross-country races. He’s currently in the middle of his eight-grade cross-country season, with wins at the first two meets of the year under his belt already. He skipped a meet on Thursday to rest for the half-marathon, but his father said he will be back in action with his school team next week, likely as the only world record-holder in the field.