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Doc Talk: 10-year-old training for 70th 5K run

Michelle Rowlson, left, and her daughter Aubrey participated in the Chicago Run 2016.(WWMT/Courtesy of Michelle Rowlson)

Aubrey Rowlson’s love for running started at a young age. Dressed as Wonder Woman, she completed her first 5K at age 6.

“After my first 5K I was like, when’s the next one?”

From then on, Aubrey, now 10, has been full speed ahead, averaging 17 5Ks a year.

At this weekend’s Borgess Run for the Health of It, she’ll be running her 70th 5K. She's also the youngest person on record to participate in the Borgess Run Camp, which is typically an adult program.

Though running is typically a solo sport, this pint-sized jogger usually tags along with a very special partner. Aubrey runs with her mom.

Aubrey and her mom, Michelle Rowlson, started running together after mom recovered from a leg injury a few years ago.

“I really didn’t know how well it was going to take off, but she loves it,” Rowlson said of her daughter. “And we keep going,”

They go wherever their sneakers will take them. Bundled up, braving the cold. Smiling big at Spring Valley Park. Glowing in the dark. Aubrey and Michelle have participated in races in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.

“All of the runs she’s done, I’ve done as well,” Michelle said. “When we’re out there together, 90 percent of the time she’s [saying] ‘Go get ‘em, Mom! You’ve got the last little bit and I’ll be fine …” and then she takes off. My mom takes pictures of her as she crosses the finish line and I finish a few minutes later.”

Along the way, they’ve built their stamina and developed big goals, Aubrey hopes to complete a half marathon when she turns 13 years old.

“Instead of just training for a 5K, we’re going to train for a 10K, then half marathon,” she said.

During their time together, the “running Rowlsons” have become more than just a mother-daughter duo, they’ve become each other’s hero.

“She just really impresses me and I’m just super proud of her,” Michelle said of her daughter. “She just sets her mind to something and she goes after it.”

On Sunday, Aubrey said she hopes to run her 70th 5K in under 30 minutes. Michelle will be running and cheering along with her every step of the way.

Rain or shine, the Kalamazoo Marathon and Borgess Run is schedule for this weekend.


Follow Erica Mokay on Twitter and on Facebook.

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