TAKOMA PARK, MD – Local teen Kenzo Kajikawa, 14, has smashed the Guinness world record for fastest 5K after finishing Takoma Park’s virtual race with a self-reported time of 11 minutes and 15 seconds.
The Takoma Park Safe Routes 5k, which has been virtual since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, allows runners to time themselves independently. Although some questioned whether Kajikawa, who has never competed in the annual race or even run 3.1 miles in his entire life, could have achieved the pace he reported, organizers were fully on the runner’s side.
“If someone was going to make up their results, surely they’d pick a more believable time that wasn’t so close to the limits of human possibility,” said race director Gregory Portman. “It’s insulting to Mr. Kajikawa to imply that he wouldn’t know how to lie better.”
For his part, Kenzo said his victory surprised not only himself but his family. “I never even knew he was interested in running given how much time he spends playing video games,” said Kajikawa’s father, Loren. “I guess with a world record holder in the house, I don’t need to give him rides to school anymore.”
Asked if he would return to defend his title next year when the race returns to its traditional format, Kenzo said he had pulled his hamstring sprinting across the virtual finish line and has retired from running. He looks forward, however, to breaking world record at a self-reported hot dog eating competition later this summer.