POTSDAM - Cael Schwartz has two very athletically gifted parents in his life.
The 7-year-olds mother, Potsdam High School 1992 graduate Michelle (Albrecht) Schwartz, was an eight-time NCAA champion in outdoor track during her time at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pa.
His father, Adam Schwartz, has competed in many triathlons throughout the past decade.
There is one claim to fame that Cael has mom and dad beat on, however: world record holder.
On Feb. 1, just one day before his seventh birthday, Cael strolled across the finish line at the Desert Classic in Surprise, Az., finishing his half marathon in 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 48 seconds. This time shattered the previous record by 28 minutes, set by a Texas girl in October.
Cael did his first triathlon at age five and his first 5k at age six, but once he had heard of the half marathon record he set his mind on conquering that milestone.
When we first set out to do a half marathon, we didnt even know there was a record or what it was. Based upon what he could run it in, we thought he could definitely do it, Mr. Schwartz said.
He trained a lot. Once he decided that he wanted to do it, each week they added a mile to their distance, Mrs. Schwartz said. They were doing this training run, and he did a 12-mile training one month before the race and our local newspaper ran a story on Cael doing the half marathon. The guy who wrote the article did the research and found that there were limited instances of kids trying for it. It needed to be a certified course, and we needed a few things from the race director.
The first grader attends the Traditional Academy at Litchfield Elementary School in Litchfield Park, Az., where his father is an assistant principal.
Mrs. Schwartz is the marketing and communications manager for the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.
Cael is far from finished with his athletic endeavors, already having scheduled six triathlons for the spring, and is hoping to take part this August in the Youth National Championships in Ohio.
On race day, Caels focus may have been diverted a bit toward the following days festivities, including a birthday cake, since his parents held off on telling their son about the record attempt.
There were scouts out on the course who let us know how Cael was doing, so we knew when he was within two miles of finishing. Those were the longest 20 minutes of my life, Mrs. Schwartz said. I was so excited, and worried that something might happen, and just so proud. I cried when I saw him crest the final hill and come into view.
Usually before a race they send out a race packet and email. In the email, the race director made mention of the world record. We didnt mention it to Cael because we didnt want to make him nervous and anxious, Mr. Schwartz added.
At about the ¼ mile mark into the race, just about every person near us was asking, Hey is this the kid trying to set the world record? So the third or fourth guy who passed us said, Hey good luck with the world record. So (Cael) said, What are they talking about?
Using the advancements in the world of technology as a teaching tool, Mr. Schwartz was able to explain to his son what setting the world record would mean.
He sort of understood the concept but I explained it through Siri (on the iPhone.)I told him that he could ask her, What is the fastest time? And she would say his name, he said.
Cael credits his love of running to exercising, winning, and going fast. While race weekend consisted of a record breaking feat and a birthday bash, the speed demon said that going to school the next week brought on some excitement as well.
Some people saw it on the news and in the newspaper, Cael said. Every day I really like racing with my friends. Some of them are pretty fast but I am still the fastest.
Cael has two younger brothers, Colton, 5, and Bode, 2.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz noted their pride in not only Cael, but all three of their young boys, each of whom are already showing signs of their parents athletic prowess.
I just hope for (Cael) to do what he enjoys, whatever that is. He certainly seems to enjoy running and when he found out about the girl in Texas, he wanted to do (a half marathon.) He just completed a triathlon this weekend. He tries really hard at everything he does, Mrs. Schwartz said. I have become inspired to do some triathlons because of Cael.
2005 was I think when I did my first triathlon. He got the genetics from his mom though. She was all state at Potsdam. Most of his training though is when he and I are together. It started out when he was three years old and he would ride his bicycle while I ran, Mr. Schwartz added.
We have three boys and are amazed by their abilities. We dont care what they do as long as they try hard and put the effort into it. Cael genuinely enjoys (running.)
Less than a month following the big race, Cael is showing now signs of slowing down, already looking to improve in other areas of fitness.
Running is my fastest. Before my last triathlon swimming was my slowest but now it is in second. I am working on biking the most now, he said.