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September 04, 2012 8:10 am

Powell teen excels at San Diego half-marathon

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Aguirre has big plans for future

Dressed in pads and a helmet, Alex Aguirre darts around the football field like any other member of the Panthers’ freshman team. It’s what Aguirre can do out of his helmet and pads that will really turn heads though.

Aguirre is a runner. A distance runner. A very good distance runner.

This past summer, the Powell 14-year-old traveled to San Diego to take part in the half-marathon. He finished in a time of one hour, 23 minutes, easily winning the 12-14 age division in the 13.1-mile race.

That’s only part of the story, however. Of the 17,600 runners to compete in the half-marathon that day, Aguirre placed 63rd overall. His average mile split of 6:22 puts him under the pace needed to qualify for a spot in the prestigious Boston Marathon, except there’s one catch.

“You have to be 18 years old to run at Boston,” Aguirre notes. “And I need to run a full marathon.”

It was Aguirre’s second time running in the half-marathon. He’d done so the previous year as well, but admits he spent more time training and preparing for this year’s event. He also has his sights set on more challenging things.

Increasing his distance to a marathon’s full 26.2 miles is definitely on his plans. Age limits on those allowed into the full-length distance races currently has blocked him from participating in them.

But marathons might also be the tip of the iceberg for Aguirre.

“I’d like to train swimming at some point, maybe do an Ironman,” he said, refering to the pinnacle of triathlon where particpants run a full-distance marathon, cycle for more than 100 miles and open with a swim of a mile or more. “I’d also like to do an ultra-marathon.”

To say running is in Aguirre’s blood might be a bit of an understatement. He’s been participating in Powell’s Sugar Beet Classic since the age of 6. He kept going back, in part, because he “thought it was cool to get a free shirt.”

More recently, Aguirre’s love for running has been fueled by his uncles and his father.

“My uncles are big runners,” he explains. “They got my dad started and I helped him train. When they talked him into signing up for his first half-marathon, I helped him train and ran with him for that as well.”

Along the way, Aguirre also signed up for any 5K or 10K race he was able to find. More often than not, he returned from those races with some sort of an award.

Two years ago, at the age of 12, he did the Sugar Beet Classic’s duathlon on his own. This past summer, he also participated in a unique relay run, serving as part of a 12-person team of Powell and Cody runners on a trek from Logan, Utah, to Jackson. Aguirre covered roughly 20 of the more than 200 miles of the trek, including a six-mile stretch at 1 a.m.

“I thought it was great when they asked me to join and be a part of it,” Aguirre said of the relay race. “There was no way I was going to deny the opportunity.”

Despite his youth, Aguirre also served as the chair this past summer for the Danolope Dash race in Powell. The fundraiser for Dano Youth Camp featured a 5K and a 10K and raised more than $2,000 for the camp.

“It just feels good to run,” Aguirre said. “There’s this runner’s high that you get from doing it that’s hard to explain. Plus it keeps me in shape for sports and gives me something to do on weekends.”

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