Two weeks ago, Gabrielle Hall, an 8-year-old from Stockton-on-Tees, set a world record performance for her age at Stewart parkrun, completing the 5k course in just 20:30.
Gabrielle, who trains with her granddad John, 56, was the first female finisher and an incredible 27th place out of 294 competitors. The time is thought to be 12 seconds quicker than the previous record, which was held by a girl of the same age in Holland.
On her approach to training, Gabrielle’s mum commented: “She has a watch and times herself. All of the family go along to watch her and cheer her on. She has been desperate to break the age grade record at the park, and when she passed us she said ‘mum I’m going to do it’.
Despite the win, Gabrielle feels she could have gone quicker, and has very definite plans for the future: "I'm proud and very happy. My dream is to be an Olympic runner."
As the time occurred at a parkrun event, Gabrielle’s performance won’t stand as a ratified world record, although the 8-year-old has set her sights on setting an official record at a road race in Holland.