“Wow. I just got beat by a 10-year-old girl.”
That’s what 99 percent of the 2,000-plus competitors in the Hot Dash 5K had to admit after looking at the results of the March race.
The person listed as taking second place among the 1,477 women who finished the race — and who beat all but 21 of the 712 male runners — was Daisy Islas, age 10.
Daisy finished the race in 20 minutes, 17 seconds, averaging six minutes and 32 seconds per mile. That’s a pace most seasoned adult runners would have a hard time matching, much less a fifth-grader.
Video at the finish line of the Twin Cities in Motion event in Minneapolis shows the person sprinting for the finish line in bib number 4999 was indeed a girl less than 5 feet tall and weighing about 80 pounds.
And it wasn’t a fluke. In February, Daisy ran an even faster race, the Valentine’s Day TC 5K, in 19 minutes, 33 seconds, beating nearly 1,900 other racers.
In fact, the Rosemount girl has been beating most runners she faces — male or female, adult or kid — since she started racing at 7. She holds state records as an 8-, 9- and 10-year-old in race distances ranging from 800 meters to 10 miles.
Her mother, Jessica Islas, said her daughter has always loved to run.
“I can remember way back when she was maybe 2 or 3 years old, she would hop up on the treadmill in her diaper and tennis shoes and just run and run,” Jessica Islas wrote in an e-mail.
“It’s always been a part of her,” Jessica said. “She’s always had this desire to run.”
Daisy started going along with her dad, Margarito Islas, on short runs. Her first race in 2014 was a one-mile kids’ fun run.
“There were no official times, but she ran the mile in about eight minutes or so, which we thought was pretty impressive at the age of 7!” Jessica wrote. At her first timed race, the Warrior 196 Memorial 5K in Apple Valley, she beat all the women.
“I feel proud that I’m beating people older than me,” Daisy said.
After they get over the surprise of being beaten by a 10-year-old, older, slower runners have told Daisy she’s an inspiring example.
She runs on a treadmill or outside with her dad, sometimes logging as much as 25 or 30 miles a week. She’s not on a team, but she would like to run cross-country — when she reaches middle school.
Jessica said she and her husband want to make sure that Daisy doesn’t get injured or burned out.
“I certainly hope she’ll keep enjoying it and she’ll keep running,” she said. “You never know if she’ll continue to like it.”
But for now, Daisy is focused on running — and winning.
“I think it’s, like, really fun,” she said. “It feels good when you win first or second place.”