Williamstown runner places fourth in AAU national race

Isabella Suarez, second-grader at Oak Knoll, is already a distinguished runner at eight-years old

Special to The Sun: Isabella Suarez poses at Harvard University’s track after her three races at the AAU Northeast Indoor Track and Field Championships. Suarez won the 400-, 800- and 1500-meter races.

From the time she was 1 and a half years old, Williamstown residents Martin and Jennifer Suarez knew their daughter Isabella would be a track star.

“When she was a year and a half, we used to have an open concept in our home and she would just run and run nonstop around the kitchen, through the family room as if it were a track,” Martin said. “At that point in time, we knew she was going to be a runner.”

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He added another story, saying she would play tag with her older cousins who could never catch her.

At the ripe age of 8, Isabella competed in the Amateur Athletic Union Indoor Track and Field Nationals at the Prince George Sports Complex in Landover, Maryland, this past month. In the 9-10 year old age group, she placed sixth in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:55, and placed fourth in the 1500-meter race with a time of 5:44.

In her previous competition, the AAU Northeast Indoor Track and Field Championships held at Harvard University in Boston, she was the Northeast champion in the 400-, 800- and 1500-meter races.

Isabella, a second-grade student at Oak Knoll Elementary School, has other interests outside of competing at the national level in track. Her favorite subjects are math and reading. She said she likes math because she likes working with time and money, and reading because she likes to challenge herself to read difficult books.

Outside the classroom and track, she enjoys playing soccer, riding her bike, swimming and doing contortion.

Isabella began running with the Burlington Township Track Club when she was 5, according to Martin.

“We used to live there and then we moved to Williamstown,” he said. “We were fortunate enough where the coaches would allow her to run on her own. They would give us her schedule, we would just make sure she’s doing it. They have confidence in us knowing my wife and I used to run when we were younger as well.”

Isabella trains somewhere between three and four days per week, and when it comes to race day, she prefers running the 1500-meter race.

“It’s so hard to choose,” she said. “The 400 is hard. I like the 15 better because it’s long distance. I like the 8, but it’s not my favorite.”

Running might be something that comes easily for Isabella, but it’s something she works hard at.

“She works hard. She definitely, for being as young as she is, is very determined and motivated,” Martin said. “Getting those medals certainly adds to that motivation as well.”

The most important thing is that she enjoys running. She exclaimed “yes” when asked if it was something she has fun doing. Her favorite part about running is the competition factor.

“We don’t pressure her to do it, she’s the one that wants to run,” Martin said. “We wish her the best as she comes into her own, and the sky’s the limit.”

“I want to try to do my best,” Isabella added. “Beat my times and get first place!”

Anthony is a graduate of Rowan University and a proud freelance contributor for 08108 magazine. He has past bylines in The Sun Newspapers and the Burlington County Times.
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