Aiden Jaquez has spent the last four and a half years running a half marathon in all 50 states. It’s a big accomplishment for anyone — but he hasn’t even turned 12 yet.
Jaquez, an 11-year-old from Montgomery, Illinois, completed the IMT Des Moines half marathon in Iowa on Sunday, reportedly becoming the youngest person to ever run a half marathon in every state, the 50 States Half Marathon Club said in a press release Tuesday.
According to the club, Jaquez ran his first half marathon at 6 years old in Sarasota, Florida. He was inspired by his grandmother, Kathleen Taylor, after seeing her complete a race. He said he liked her shiny medal and wanted one of his own.
At first, their goal was just to run a half-marathon in every state — but Jaquez soon realized he could be the youngest-ever to do it. The duo crossed the finish line in Iowa together, completing their joint goal.
“I love running half marathons because not many kids in my age do it and it’s fun to run and just get a lot of energy out and run with my grandma,” Aiden told WOI. “I find it easier to fun long-distance for me, because if I run short-distance, I try to run too fast.”
He grew a fan base over the years, as his family documented his historic journey on Facebook. His grandmother was by his side every step of the way.
Iowa was the last state Jaquez needed to complete his club’s 50 States Half Marathon Challenge. According to the club, the previous record-holder was Syrafina Mohammed, who completed her 50th half marathon in 2016 at the age of 12.
Jaquez’s record has not yet been officially verified by Guinness, but his family is hopeful.
“He set this goal and he has completed it,” Taylor said. “It’s been four and a half years, but he’s never once wavered or never asked to quit. This isn’t something I’m making him do. He wanted to do it and he’s loved every minute of it.”
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