Photo by Julie Samrick - Village Life
EDITORS NOTE: This is a repost from Village Life. Andrew is returning to the Youth Runner Middle School Camp in August and it was exciting to see this story about him.
Young runner already making mark
El Dorado Hills 11-year-old Andrew Burr can add another feat to a growing list of running accomplishments.
First, last summer while on vacation with his family in New York Andrew entered a race on a whim and, coming in at 1:09:53, set a new world record for the fastest-ever officially recognized 10-mile race run by a 10-year old - a record he still holds.
On June 9 Andrew ran the 108th Dipsea race. Not only did he do well, just being selected into the race itself is a challenge. Located along the Pacific Coast near Mill Valley, the 7.5 mile course is the oldest trail in America and the second oldest foot race in the country after the Boston Marathon. Participants run 7.5 miles, but that’s the easy part. They must also climb three flights of steep stairs (688 steps) reaching a peak elevation of 1,360 feet, which is equivalent to a 50-story building. The field is limited to 1,500 participants and, according to communications coordinator for the race Dave Albee, 500 people are turned away each year.
“One way to get into the race is to send a sob story with your application,” Albee explained. “The best sob stories are reviewed by the Dipsea Race Committee and if they are impressive we give them entry into the race.”
Albee said the committee was impressed by Andrew’s world record as well as by his application. Andrew got their attention by explaining he’d saved his allowance to enter the Dipsea for the first time. “His story and the story on him in YouthRunner.com convinced the committee to enter him in this year’s race,” Albee explained.
Andrew told Village Life during a recent interview at his Serrano home that his goal was to reach invitational status for 2019. In order to do so, he had to rank in the top 750 out of 1,500 runners. Of those, 750 were invited and 750 were non-invitational. “My focus was to pass people,” he said days after the race. Andrew placed 24th out of 750 non-invitational runners and 628th overall.
The Sacramento County Day School sixth-grader and only child said he started running to keep up with his parents, Jeremy Burr and Tricia Ross. “I remember my parents used to run and push me around in a stroller. It was boring,” he said. “I started doing fun runs and then when I was 7 or 8 I started running real races, either 10Ks or half marathons.”
He had hiked the Dipsea course with his mother and then his father told him about the annual race which draws well-known celebrities, including Robin Williams in the 1980s and more recently Special Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice Robert Mueller. This year there were runners from 28 states, Canada, Mexico and Singapore.
“I saved my allowance and made a donation to them,” Andrew said of his plan to make it to the start line. “It worked.”
To train, Andrew said he did one training run of the course but mostly prepared by doing hill repeats throughout Serrano. He also credits his running club, Buffalo Chips, for his success, particularly his coaches Linda Frazier and Mike Duncan. “They’re amazing,” Andrew said.
He joined Buffalo Chips when he was 9 years old and next will compete with them at the AAU Nationals in Orlando later this month.
Andrew explained how he gets into the zone during a run. “I get a random song stuck in my head,” he said.
And what does he like best about the sport? “Being outdoors,” he said. “I also like that running is a team sport but that you can also compete against others and yourself.”
Andrew said he also likes playing soccer for the USA Stars as a left mid-fielder and in his downtime he hangs out with friends or plays video games.
“He’s very self-motivated and goal-oriented in everything he does. There’s never a battle,” his mother said. “We’re incredibly proud and his dad and I don’t know where the genes come from.”
What are his plans for the future? “I’m taking it month to month,” Andrew said. “As I improve, I set new goals for new races.”