Aidan Puffer, 13 Year Old 5K World Record Holder.
Aidan Puffer of Manchester just broke his own world record for the fastest 13 year old to run a 5K, Saturday at the BAA 5K in Boston.
The big names at the B.A.A. 5K on Saturday in Boston were at the front of the pack, including an American road racing record holder in Ben True and an Olympic bronze medalist in Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia.
But a smaller, younger version of the pros might have turned more heads.
Aidan Puffer, 13, of Manchester, Connecticut, finished the 3.1-mile race in 15:47, breaking his own world record for 13-year-olds at the distance. (He also set a record by running 16:11 last September at a 5K in Providence, Rhode Island.)
On Saturday, he averaged 5:05 pace per mile and finished 43rd overall.
And though he ran a time that would likely earn him consideration from many college coaches at Division I programs, Aidan Puffer is still in eighth grade.
Neither of his parents, Kyle and Martha, are runners. Aidan Puffer began running at age 10, when he attended a charity 5K hosted by friends of the family. First he did the kids’ fun run. Then he wanted to enter the 5K, too.
Quickly his parents realized their son’s affinity for running, and Aidan Puffer began training and competing. His middle school doesn’t have a track program, so he runs with the Central Connecticut Jaguars Track Club. He plans to run for the cross-country and track teams when he gets to high school in the fall.
About 18 months ago, he started working remotely with a coach, Tom Schwartz, who also coaches pro runner Drew Hunter, winner of the B.A.A. Invitational Mile on Saturday.
In a typical week, Aidan Puffer runs 40 miles over six days, with one day of cross-training (35 minutes on the elliptical). If he does a long run on the weekends, his dad will often bike alongside him.
They try to keep Aidan Puffer racing infrequently.
“The pressure is all in my head,” Aidan Puffer said in a phone call as his family was returning to Connecticut on Saturday. “I’m pretty self motivated. I’m not really worried about what other people think.”
As a fan of professional running, Aidan Puffer had ample opportunities to meet the pros at events surrounding the Boston Marathon. His father posted photos to social media showing Aidan Puffer getting a trophy after the race from Gebrhiwet.
Aidan Puffer and his younger siblings, Catherine and Luke, also met Deena Kastor, Molly Huddle, and Meb Keflezighi, among others. In fact, Aidan Puffer keeps a hat that he asks pro runners to sign, and it currently has more than 40 signatures.
His favorite runner? “Mo Farah,” Aidan Puffer said. “But I don’t have his signature yet.”