The top 16-year-old long-distance runner in the country was having a rough week a few weeks ago—because she could only average 92 miles as part of her training for the Cleveland Marathon. “I can’t sit still,” Hadley told The New York Times. “I want to ask my teachers if I can stand in the corner.” Hadley, a sophomore at Charlotte’s Ardrey Kell High School, began running when she was 3 years old after asking her father if she could join him on his jogs. At first he said no, but she says, “I guess I finally bugged him enough that he decided to take me.” She ran her first race at 6, taking just 27 minutes to finish the 5k—an average of less than 9 miles a minute. These days, Hadley averages 110 miles a week, getting up as early as 5 a.m. for five-mile jogs to supplement her afternoon training. Her father, Mark Hadley, says the dedication to the sport is all his daughter’s. “You can’t make a teenage daughter do anything,” Mark Hadley said. “If anything, we’ve held her back from more.”
She is the top 16-year-old long-distance runner in the country.