A Belfast school pupil is believed to have broken a world record after completing a five kilometre race in just 16 minutes and 40 seconds.
Emer McKee is believed to have broken the record for the fastest race of that distance run by someone her age — despite falling en route.
Emer is being celebrated by her running club Willowfield Harriers for her achievement as a junior member of the club after she competed in the Championship Ireland event at Down Royal on Sunday.
The 12 year old pupil said after looking up old records, she knew she’d done well after she crossed the finish line.
“I knew that I’d hopefully beaten [the record] so I was just over the moon,” she said.
The best time held for a race of the same length was 17 minutes and 16 seconds by Annabella Veltcheva of the US in Clermont, Florida, according to running club the North Belfast Harriers.
Speaking to the BBC’s Evening Extra radio programme, Emer’s mother Catherine said she was “bursting with pride”.
“She’s been in a running club for a few years now and with lockdown she hasn’t been able to do much training with her group so she’s just been training by herself,” she said.
“She’s so determined and so motivated and she just gets out there in all weather.”
For Emer, the most appealing part of running is the social aspect.
“I think what I love most about running is that I get to run with loads of my friends in the running club,” she said.
After joining a running club when she was nine, the young girl said she’s appreciated the support of her coaches who have really helped her keep at it over the years.
It led to her setting what’s thought to be a world record on Sunday.
“A couple of weeks ago I did 16.37 so when the races started I was just in peak form,” she said.
When asked her secret, Emer said she has just one aim during a race. “I guess I just try to run as fast as I can,” she said.
With a bright future ahead for the young runner, her mother Catherine said she’s not sure where her daughter will go next.
“She hasn’t spoken about what she’ll do when she grows up, for now she’s just enjoying running,” she said.