Madison Bach is not your run-of-the-mill marathoner. It's true the girl's got plenty of drive, a surplus of determination, and the need for speed.
She'd just rather talk about her goals for the third grade than her race for marathon glory.
At age eight-and-a-half, this aspiring Jackee Joyner-Kersee is the youngest person ever to participate in Utica, New York's legendary Boilermaker 15K Marathon in its 29 year history.
Finishing the 9.3 miles race in just under one hour and 43 minutes, Bach credits her dad Andrew for helping her train.
"Leading up to the race, we'd run three to four miles every other day," she says. "Then we bicycled the other days. That was a way for me to build up my endurance."
"Her dad was a national champion in running when he was in college," Bach's mom Lisa says, "and I'm sure Madison takes after him."
Lisa Bach, the daughter of Jim and Sue Gunther, is a former Le Mars resident. Lisa and her family currently live in Cedar Rapids.
"Madison had seen her dad and her cousin train for marathons in the past," Lisa says, "so it was only natural for her to want to start running as well."
"Only we didn't know she was going to start off running in the Boilermaker Marathon," she adds with a sigh.
"At first, my mom and dad said no," Bach says. "They said there would be too many people running and it wouldn't be safe for me."
"We were in Utica visiting Andrew's family on the Fourth of July," Lisa recalls, "and Madison was still pretty adamant about entering the marathon. So we decided she could participate only if her cousin Joe stayed with her at all times."
With 11,000 other participants, that seems like a wise request.
"It was sorta scary," Bach admits. "There were so many people running, I was afraid I was going to get squished!"
But Bach made it and she's proud of her accomplishment.
"I was tired but I had so much fun!" she smiles.
Already active in basketball, ballet, gymnastics, and volleyball, Bach enjoys staying busy.
"Madison has a lot of energy," mentions Lisa, "and she really has a passion for what she starts."
Bach also has an intellectual side.
"I can't wait to go back to school!" she exclaims. "I love to read (her favorite book currently: "The Magic Tree House") and I love being with my friends!"
Does Bach like being with brothers Miles, 6, and Mason, 3?
She hems and haws for a second.
"They're okay," Bach finally says, "I guess."
Would she like to continue running marathons?
"Absolutely!" she answers without hesitation. "I know what to expect now and I'm sure I'll be able to run even faster next time."