True, but no one achieves excellence in marathoning by running one at 16. There is not a single elite marathoner out there who ran a marathon as a child to prepare for success at the distance as an adult.Stephan wrote:nobody achieves excellence in sports (by that I mean professional/Olympic) without starting at a young age.
Haile Gebrselassie is a notable example to the contrary (he ran 2:48 at the age of 15), but he had travelled to Addis Ababa to run a much shorter race (9 or 15k, I can't remember). When he found out that it wasn't a marathon, he didn't want the trip to have been for nothing, so he ran the marathon anyway.
There are, by the way, many elite runners who started serious training after the age of 18. Paul Tergat didn't run a step until he was 18. I don't think he competed internationally until he was 22. Charles Kibiwott, also of Kenya, has run a 2:06 but didn't take up running until he was in his mid-20s.