Anderson Newman: On the Run

Anderson Newman celebrates the completion of a 4K at the Cross Country National Championship in Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday.

Fourteen-year-old Malibu local Anderson Newman is making quite a name for himself in the national cross country scene. The teen ran the 4K in 16:27 minutes on Saturday at the 2014 Amateur Athletic Union Athletics Cross Country National Championship in Lawrence, Kansas.

“I am happy I got the time I did. I had a great experience,” Anderson said. “I’m honored to compete in a national field. It was super fun.”

His personal best is a 16:02 for a 4K, equivalent to 2.5 miles. Despite tough weather, Newman powered through.

“I ran it in 39 degrees on a course I’d never run,” he said. “So I’m relieved it’s over now.”

This is the first year Anderson has run cross country, said Jessica Newman, Anderson’s mom.

“So for him to qualify for Athletic Union Athletics Nationals is significant,” she said. “For youth runners prior to high school athletics this is the grand finale of racing against teams all over Southern California. The best of Southern California runners now form a team, the Comets, which will compete against the best youth from across the country.”

To earn a place on the national’s team, Anderson qualified as one of the top eight fastest runners in his division in the Southern California Youth Track and Field conference.

“I raced in seven cross country meets and they average the top four times to determine the fastest kids,” said the Malibu High eighth-grader, who trained with his team, the Calabasas Cheetahs, three times a week in addition to participating in a cross country meet every weekend.

“So every day after school I do tutoring for two hours,” he said of his daily regimen.

Three days a week after tutoring, he ran trails in Malibu Canyon, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Agoura Park, Granada Hills and Van Nuys.

“My parents have done a lot of driving,” he said. “On days I couldn’t make night practice, I got up at 6 a.m. to run Zuma Beach.”

Anderson was inspired to take up the sport by watching his parents run on the beach every morning.

“This all started when I would get up before school and run with my mom and dad to the Point Dume headlands,” he recalled. “Sometimes I would be late for school…because we would see whales and couldn’t stop watching.”

Anderson ran his first race, the Los Angeles Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon,

when he was 12.

“After that I ran three other half marathons,” said Anderson, who placed first in the 15 and younger division in the Malibu Half Marathon. “I’ve been running Malibu trails and beaches since fifth grade.”

The Newmans trained with their son for his first half marathon.

“I will never forget the Pasadena half marathon when he said, ‘Mom, I’m going to go ahead.’ And we tried to keep up with him and we couldn’t,” his mom recalled. “So we knew we had to get him running with other kids to push him. He’s grown a lot through cross country.”

Looking back on Saturday’s competition, Anderson said running is an enjoyment.

“So being able to make it to a national competition doing something I enjoy means a lot to me,” he said. “I’ve been focused on running this whole fall. So I’ve learned that when I focus and commit I can perform at a high level.”

He hopes this will work for school and college, too. “But this past weekend it was just about running. Fast.”

Running benefits his life in many ways, he added.

“It helps me focus. It makes school easier. It gives me energy. It reduces stress,” Anderson said. “In cross country you run out in nature so I’ve seen tarantulas, deer, whales, sunsets and sunrises. Everything feels better after a run.”