13-year-old Lyons on the track

Lauren Lyons is not just fast, she is one of the fastest 13-year-olds in the country in the 100-meter dash.

But success on the track field has not gone to her head. Lyons is following in the footsteps of her father, a well-known track and field athlete in the 1960s and her brother, a track phenom at Boston College.

The Co-op City resident, who attends Villa Maria Academy, was ranked the fastest 13-year-old at the Northeast Atlantic Championships for the Amateur Athletic Union’s 100-meter dash qualifiers at Regis College in June. She and members of her track team will compete at the AAU Northeast Conference Indoor Track Championships at Norfolk State College in August.

Lyons has also competed and taken home medals at the Colgate Women’s Games, considered a mecca for women’s American amateur track. Lyons said that she is surprised by her own success, which came easily and naturally at a very young age. She has been competing against her peers in track since she was seven years old. It all began almost accidentally.

“I started to run when my dad would pick me up from school at the bus stop, and I always wanted to race him,” Lyons said. “Oftentimes, I would beat him, and he soon asked me if I would like to join a track team. After a while, I realized that I was doing really well and wanted to continue to build a strong career.”

Lyons said that the first competitive track race she took part in was as a member of the Zodiac Track Club. It resulted in a gold medal win at a competition held on Randall’s Island’s Ichan Stadium in 2005. She has since become an expert in the 100-meter dash, and especially thrived after her dad, Donald Lyons, started his track and field training program called the Lyons Mane Youth Track Club. She said that the 100-meter dash is her favorite race because it is closly watched among track enthusiasts.

Her father is a driving force in her training, which she said can often become intense before a really big meet. The key, she said, is to train for endurance as well as speed.

“We work on our speed, as well as our strength and our stamina before a big race,” Lyons said of her training with her dad, Donald Lyons. “If you don’t have stamina you can never finish a race strong.”

Aside from being a great runner, she is also a stellar student, according to her physical education teacher at Villa Maria Academy, Michael Bernard. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and maintains a 92 average.

“She really worked for everything she has gotten and is truly a modest girl when it comes to her accomplishments,” Bernard said. “Her combination of academics and athletics is just fantastic. She is someone who could be headed to the Olympics someday.”

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