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Running: 10-year-old Dingman breaks world track mark

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Many track and field athletes spend their entire lives chasing a world record that only a select few will ever actually accomplish.

Then there are kids like 10-year-old Jack Dingman, who set a world record the first time he raced on an outdoor track.

Dingman — the son of 1996 Carthage graduates Lee Dingman and Frances Warner Dingman — set a single-age world record last month in the 5,000-meter run.

Dingman ran the 5,000 in 18 minutes, 18.62 seconds to set the USA Track and Field-sanctioned mark on June 8 at the Music City Distance Carnival at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

“I was real excited for the race because I had never run on a track before, I had always done trail runs and run around the gravel tracks, so I was very excited,” Jack Dingman said.

“I had never run around a track before so 18:18 was good for me, but I wish I had gotten a little faster.”

The Dingmans — who live in Summerfield, N.C. — traveled seven hours for the event, which featured runners of all ages from all over the country and Australia, Great Britain and Canada.

“There were folks there that were trying to make Olympic qualifying times and things like that,” Lee Dingman said. “It was very legitimate.”

Jack Dingman, all 4-foot-5 of him, led the pack for the first mile. Lee Dingman, Jack’s father, said his son was closely followed by a runner who stood about 6-foot-5.

“Jack was pushing the wind of this guy who is literally twice his height behind him, it looked pretty funny,” Lee Dingman said. “Everybody was watching as Jack held the lead for about half the race or so.”

Jack’s parents were both accomplished athletes at Carthage.

Lee Dingman was a standout in lacrosse. He led Section 3 with 61 goals as a senior and is tied with three others for Carthage’s single-game record with nine goals. He played Division I lacrosse at Army and scored 59 career goals, including a team-high 31 as a senior.

Frances Warner Dingman, Jack’s mother, captured Carthage’s first state title in any sport when she won the 1,500 meters at the state outdoor track and field meet.

She captured five state titles at schools in Kansas and North Carolina before moving to Carthage as a junior. She ran Division I cross country and track and field at the University of Virginia and was named one of the Times’ 50 Greatest Athletes.

And while Jack’s running gene would seem to come from his mother, Frances Warner Dingman said that’s not the case.

“I can’t take credit for everything. … He got a good mix of both. He’s got the running skills, and he’s got the hand-eye coordination that I never had, so he got a good mix of both,” she said.

Jack Dingman said he is most interested in lacrosse and basketball, but started running more in September 2012 when, as a fourth-grader, he nearly broke the Summerfield Elementary school record with a 6:01 mile during the presidential fitness test in Phys. Ed.

This past fall, Dingman shaved his mile down to 5:35 and broke his school’s record. He set the record again in May with a 5:24 mile.

Dingman’s parents entered him into a 5K this past April and he placed first out of 77 runners, beating the closest adult male finisher by more than a minute.

He also ran an 8K on Labor Day last year and placed sixth with a time of 32:20. The race featured about 300 adults, including both of Jack’s parents, who he beat by three and eight minutes, respectively.

The Dingmans said they don’t have any other races planned in the immediate future because Jack isn’t yet old enough to start training regularly for 5Ks.

Lee and Frances Dingman have three other kids – Logan, 9, Kasey, 6, and Lance, 3.

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