While some children his age are surfing the Web and playing video games, 10-year-old New Zealand native Quinn Gardiner-Hall runs about 12 miles a week.
“I noticed that heaps of kids my age weren’t getting outside doing active stuff and were staying inside playing on their iPads and Playstations,” Quinn told The Garden Island. “So I thought if I did something really cool, maybe more of them would get outside, too.”
The young man from Waiuku, New Zealand, is halfway to completing a mission to run four half marathons in four countries before he turns 12.
On Sunday, he will compete in the Kauai half marathon. The race will be the third leg of his journey that aims to inspire New Zealand children to be more active.
“I have been doing all of my training in really cold conditions as it’s winter in New Zealand at the moment, so it will take a bit to get used to the heat in Kauai, but I am really looking forward to feeling warm!” Quinn said.
Coming from an active family, Quinn decided he wanted to try running after being dragged along to running events with his family.
He was about 5 when he completed his first 8K run, a local event in Waiuku called the “Sand to Mud Run.”
A few years later, he nagged his mother, Kylie, to enter his first half marathon: the Kerikeri half marathon, the first leg of his mission.
“He said, ‘Oh Mom, I can do this.’ And I’m like, ‘No son, that is something you can’t do at this stage. You’ve only run 10K runs, so a 21K, that’s a long way,’” Kylie said. “And he’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, Mom, I can do it.’”
Kylie relented, and 8-year-old Quinn ended up beating his mom by 10 minutes.
“After that, he’d decided he wanted to do more of those things and show other kids what awesome stuff you can do if you just get out there and have a go,” Kylie said.
Quinn then set his sights on the 2015 Australian Outback half marathon. At 9 years old, Quinn became the youngest person to run the event. He finished in 37th place out of 150 runners with a time of 1:57:05.
Two down. Two to go.
Because of his love of science and nature, Quinn decided to compete in polar opposite locations: the Kauai half marathon this Sunday and the Antarctica half marathon in March 2017.
To fund his journey to the Pacific and South Pole, he was awarded $10,000 last November as part of the AMP (formerly Australian Mutual Provident Society) Scholarship National Awards.
“I feel very lucky,” Quinn said.
The young runner is looking forward to Kauai’s beautiful scenery.
“I hope to go to the canyon you have there,” Quinn said. “I read that on the half marathon course, there is a tunnel of trees which is a hundred years old — that will be really awesome to run through!”
To supplement his mission, Quinn’s family started a donation page that has raised $373 as of Wednesday.
“Getting to Antarctica is very expensive,” Kylie said. “Anyone who donates $10 or more to his Give a Little page — Quinn’s On A Mission — their name goes on a special scroll. He’ll be running with that scroll in Antarctica.”
At 10, Quinn will be one of the youngest competitors to compete in the Kauai half marathon. The youngest participant was Matthew Valdivia, who was 9 when he ran in 2011.
Quinn said he hopes his runs will open the eyes of other children.
“That would have to be good for New Zealand as it would help us to make more great sportspeople,” he said.