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This Granite Bay youth gets good mileage

Gavin Bomhoff, 11, completes his first marathon with a kick
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Youth marathon runners are rare.

The most notable name is Budhia Singh who, at the age of 4½, ran 40 miles in May 2006. Young Marathon Runners of America has just 226 likes on the Internet.

“You just don’t see them,” Sheri Bomhoff said Monday.

She saw her son, Gavin, for about 4½ hours Sunday, until he hit the gas one last time and left her behind at the end of the Surf City USA Marathon in Huntington Beach.

At 11 years old, Gavin Bomhoff was the youngest of 2,300 runners for his first marathon. There was one 12-year-old girl and two 14-year-olds.

Young Gavin, a sixth-grader at Franklin Elementary School in Loomis, didn’t exactly drop the long-distance bomb on his parents. Sheri has run the American River 50, and dad Greg is an ultramarathoner who has taken on the Western States Endurance Run, the Rio Del Lago 100 and the Badwater 135. So who better to prepare Gavin for his first 26.2?

“We never pushed or encouraged him too heavily,” Greg Bomhoff said.

Gavin is a 70-pounder with Loomis Wrestling and a defender and goalie with the Crew soccer club, so Greg Bomhoff said he knew Gavin was fit to run. Gavin, who ran a half-marathon at age 9 and another at 10, trained six months for his first marathon with a weekly run of 10 to 20 miles on trails from the Bomhoff home in Granite Bay to the Lake Natoma area.

“We gave him the training plan to figure it all out,” Greg Bomhoff said.

Mom and dad also let Gavin choose his marathon. The course is mostly flat and runs along the beach. The weather is perfect.

“I wanted to do something not a lot of people do,” Gavin said by cell phone Monday as the family vehicle reached the bottom of the Grapevine in Southern California during the long ride home.

Sheri Bomhoff, with “Gavin’s Mom” written on her bib, ran the race with him. Greg and Gavin’s older brother Garret, 13, who has run a couple of half marathons himself, served as the crew and gave Gavin water.

Gavin was timed in 4 hours, 36 minutes, 38 seconds. Greg Bomhoff said Gavin ran identical splits in the first and second half of the race and averaged 10:34 per mile. Gavin had fans cheering him on over the course of the race but was “a little sore” in the car.

He saw a dolphin during his run, but the smile on Gavin’s face turned to determination about mile 18.

“It started getting really hard,” he said. “The last hour was the hardest. My body was just tired. I really, really wanted to finish because of all the stuff I’ve put into it, and I waited a long time.”

When Gavin saw the finish line, he took off. Sheri finished in 4:37:06, 28 seconds behind him.

“I thought, ‘Wow, I don’t have that in me,’ ” she said. “I love that kick.”

Sheri Bomhoff said people encouraged her son, yelled to ask how old he was, and young volunteers pointed him out.

“The coolest thing was he never even had a doubt he could do it,” Greg Bomhoff said.

Gavin wants to run another marathon in about six months.

I can’t really describe it,” he said of the finish. “It felt really, really good.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at billp@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.