Seven-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills resident Ava Loew has a need for speed.
She ran her first race at age 5 and on April 13, she won first place in her category at the K’s for Kids 5K Run that benefits the Crisis Nursery. Her time even beat runners twice her age.
“It’s something I look forward to,” Ava said. “I like the feeling of finishing and winning. It’s fun.”
Ava ran the race with her father, Morgan Loew, who works for the race’s sponsor, Channel 5. Loew said he ran track when he was a kid but stopped when he began working. He started running again about five years ago and Ava began to take notice. When he signed up to take part in the Race for the Cure in 2011, Ava wanted to come along.
“She kept saying during the race, ‘Dad, we’ve got to go faster,’” Loew said. “She was only 5 at the time, but we kept passing all these people. I kept looking and as we got closer to the finish and there weren’t a ton of people in front of us. Most of the people were behind us. As we rounded the final corner all the people at the finish line were cheering her on saying, ‘Look at that little runner.’ I think she came in fourth or fifth place overall.”
This year, Ava was excited to run a race again. During the sign-up process her age was recorded incorrectly. She was listed in the 13/14-year-old category. When the second-grader crossed the finish line her family was surprised to see her name at the top of the wrong age group, but even more surprised to see she had beaten runners twice her age.
“I work a lot of hours so I don’t see them much during the week,” Loew said. “Being able to run with her is a good way to hang out together. Seeing her finish like that was really neat. Krista (my wife) takes them to dance and I’m sure she gets a thrill out of seeing them dance and seeing them get dressed up for recitals that I’m not sure dads can fully appreciate, but dad going to a race with his daughter is something I can appreciate.”
Ava has a goal to run a race each year with her dad and increase in distances.
“It gets my feet moving,” she said. “I really like the feeling of finishing.”
Her advice to other kids is simple: “Keep running.”
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