Posted: Friday, 11 April 2014 8:04AM

Winona Radio Athlete of the Week Grace Ping Accomplishing Big Things

This week’s Winona Radio athlete of the week is 10-year old Grace Ping of Winona. Ping is accomplishing some extraordinary things running at a very young age. Last Saturday Ping finished 9th overall in the Fools Five 8 K Road Race that featured over 1,200 runners. She won the female division by 31 seconds and she finished under three minutes behind her father, Ryan, who won the race. She finished just a minute and 37 seconds behind the second place finisher. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Grace has already accomplished in her short time running.

Ping, who started running competively at the age of seven, smashed the 8K Minnesota state record for ten year olds at the Fools Five and she also owns the 5K state records for 8 and 9 year olds. Last year she set the state record in the 1,500 at the Minnesota Indoor Track and Field meet and set both the 800 and 1,500 meter records at the USA Track and Field Minnesota State Outdoor Meet last summer. Last fall she competed at the National Junior Olympic Cross Country meet in San Antonio, Texas and finished fifth after leading for part of the race.

This year she will compete 1,500 and 3,000 in AAU Championships in Des Moines in the summer but Grace is shooting for an even bigger goal.   Based on her time in the 8K at the Fools Five she has a chance to break the world record for the fastest time ever run by a 10-year old girl in the 5K.   The challenge will be finding track meets in which Ping can run the 5K. Grace also says she would eventually like to become an olympic runner.

Grace isn’t the only sibling in her family that is setting records. Grace’s sister Lauren set the state 8K record for 8-year olds at the Fools Five race and last year she set the state record in the 800 meter run at the Minnesota Indoor Meet. Her times are very similar to the times that Grace ran as an 8-year old. There’s a third Ping sibling, Jamison, who is 6 and he has also started running. Grace’s next race looks to be the BK5K, which will be held June 14th.

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