LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Tight tendons. Snug sneakers. Flowing fluids. 20,000 people trying to run 20 miles, in three different races. It's called the Louisville Triple Crown of Running. But there's one big difference this year. Standing at the start line is a runt of a runner who can't even spell "start." Connor Shiffer cannot read yet, but he can run and run.
"He's got some endurance," said Roxy Shiffer, Connor's mother. "We just didn't know how much endurance."
That was until Roxy brought him along on a 5K and he ran away. So she turned him over to dad, Carey Shiffer. Carey had Connor checked out by a doctor, got permission to turn him loose, and they've been trying to reel him in ever since.
"There's something wrong with this child because there's no way he can keep running like that," said Carey.
"I think he's bookin. He's 5. Amazing," said a passing runner.
The first leg of the Triple Crown was a sprint for the 5 year old. The real challenge began when they doubled the distance to six miles in leg number two for two little legs.
"How do you feel Connor," asked his father, running next to him.
"Good," replied Connor.
"We got a little 4 year old and it's like, could he do that?" said a spectator.
The only problem for Connor was having to go to the bathroom halfway through the race.
"He's got to go number one and number two," said Carey.
With no bathrooms for miles, they took a pit stop at a pet store. When Connor crossed the finish line, he kept running, because can't read yet, and had no idea what the finish sign means.
The final leg, the 10-miler, is serious business for even the serious runners. Then there was Connor, clowning on the curbs, goofing on the grass, and telling all his best jokes.
"Why did 6 get scared of 7?" Connor said. "Because 7 ate 9,".
"We've been right behind him for awhile," said one runner. "It's just so cool trying to figure how old he is."
When he enters the stadium, Connor is a rock star. He finishes the 10-miler in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Half the age of the youngest competitors, Connor finishes in front of 1,321 other people. That means 1,321 have to tell their children that they were beaten by a kindergartner who has become a performance-enhancing drug to everyone who gets near him.
"It just amazes me the way he is," said dad Carey. "I wish I could bottle it up and feed it to myself sometimes."