Speedy Debu sets age-group world records for 10K run; Cretu competes at USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships

Amber Debu and her father, Marc, run around the Redmond High track in August. - Andy Nystrom/ Reporter
Amber Debu and her father, Marc, run around the Redmond High track in August.
— image credit: Andy Nystrom/ Reporter

Amber Debu already held one world record — although she didn’t know it yet.

Following a 46-minute, 49-second Railroad Days 10K fun run performance on Aug. 16 in Snoqualmie, the Redmond 8-year-old notched her second world record. On that day, race organizers informed Debu that her time was the fastest recorded for an 8-year-old running a 10K race.

She placed first in the 14-and-under division on Aug. 16.

Two years earlier in the same race, Debu’s time of 52:20 made her the quickest 6-year-old in the world to tackle a 10K. She found out about both records on Aug. 16 and, judging from the energy in her voice, she’s ready to run some more races.

On Monday afternoon, Debu recalled her latest race.

“It was really exciting. Near the end, I was getting pretty tired … other than that, it was just great,” said Debu, who won her age group and finished 63rd overall. She ran alongside her father, Marc, who took 64th.

Amber and Marc run together six days a week — it’s a bonding experience and keeps them healthy and active.

“It’s perfect,” said Marc, who ran with his son before Amber jumped on board at the age of 5. “She said, ‘I want to do that, too.’”

Amber enjoys having her dad — who used to be a marathoner and triathloner — running by her side and providing encouragement.

The young homeschool student said she doesn’t always feel great after a race because she’s been running so hard, but she’s only winded for a little while.

“I do recover really fast,” she said. “(And then) I’m very satisfied.”


As if competing in the 3,000-meter race isn’t grueling enough, George Cretu and his fellow runners had to endure the blistering 100-degree heat in Humble, Texas, last month at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships.

The Redmond 13-year-old didn’t feel he ran his best and finished 32nd in the 13-14-year-old division.

“I’m not used to running in that weather. I want to do better next year and hope to get in the top 10,” said Cretu, a Redmond Middle School eighth-grader who finished 10th in one of the early heats at nationals. At regionals in Spokane, he qualified for nationals with a fourth-place finish (10:27.73).

Cretu, who runs for the Cascade Striders club team, also participated in the 4x400-meter relay event at nationals, but his team didn’t qualify for the final.

It was a pressure-packed July, but Cretu said the adrenaline kicks in come race time and then he’s off enjoying what he does best.

Aside from racing, he noted that “It was cool meeting people from everywhere who like to do the same thing that you do.”

George’s mother, Monica, said her son is a focused and hard-working runner.

“He was so ambitious to qualify (for regionals and nationals). He made sacrifices, like not playing with his friends. He’s serious about running,” Monica said.

He’s resilient, as well. He rebounded from a back injury he sustained long jumping during track and field season and found running success last month.

George also runs cross country and qualified for nationals in San Antonio, Texas, last fall and finished in the top 75.

“Running is calming. It feels good to get out running every day,” he said.


(Cretu is pictured at right.)

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