By Doug Oakley Staff Writer email@example.com OAKLAND -- When he grows up, 10-year-old Elliot Daniels wants to run the 10,000-meter race in the Olympics and break the world record.
For now, though, the Campbell kid has his sights on the world record for 10-year-olds in the half-marathon Sunday (March 22) at the Oakland Running Festival.
This will be his first half marathon. The longest he's run was in the 10K Valentine Fun Run in Campbell in February when he clocked in a personal best 38 minutes, 22 seconds.
"I feel ready," Elliot said of Sunday's 13.1"'mile race, in which he needs to best a time of one hour, 31 minutes, eight seconds -- or just under 7 minutes per mile -- set March 7 in Davis by fellow 10-year-old Jack Butler, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.
In its sixth year, the Oakland Running Festival is expected to draw 10,000 runners, who will compete in a marathon, a four-person marathon relay, a half-marathon, a 5K, a combination race of a 5K and a half-marathon, and a kids fun run that tops out at a quarter-mile.
Online registration is closed, but runners still can register at the Oakland Marriott City Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Elliot will be wearing No. 2004, the year of his birth, festival spokesman Dave Gell said.
"I really like running because it's something I'm good at," he said. "It's something I enjoy, because it keeps me from being bored. It keeps me out of trouble."
Elliot, who loves to run and whose small and light body type lends itself to the sport, ran about 1,560 miles last year, according to his father, Brian Daniels. He's only been running competitively for a year but has already tallied about 30 races.
"I was teaching a running club at his charter school," Daniels said, "and he asked if he could hang around with me and the rest of the kids, and the head coach of the club said, 'Hey, he's a runner.' "
Elliot, who is motivated by an older cousin, who also runs, hasn't stopped hitting the pavement since.
"He ran and won a 5K (in his age group) at an Oktoberfest down here in Campbell," Daniels said. "Then last summer we brought him to an open track meet at Los Gatos High, and he ran some races, and everybody in these running clubs was asking him to run with them."
Daniels said his son will "destroy" the latest world record in the half-marathon. During training, he has clocked Elliot at one hour, 28 minutes.
"He also wants to break his older cousin's time of one hour, 24 minutes, 42 seconds that he ran in 1984," Daniels said. "Running is our family gift. It's our thing."
Having a 10-year-old run 13.1 miles is not worrisome to Elliot's dad, who said he's had "people bug me about pushing him and all that, but it's him. He wants to do it. If he couldn't run, he'd cry. It brings him joy. It's the most satisfying thing in his life."
Daniels added that his kid probably knows "more about fitness than 90 percent of the adults out there."
For the race Sunday, Elliot plans to eat some pasta, vegetables and juice the night before, then the day of the race he will eat "a little oatmeal, a little bit of sweet potato and some more juice."
While he's running on Sunday, Elliot said he likely will be thinking "about how much time I have until my next race."
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