This speedy Sheffield schoolgirl who can out run many adults is being touted as a star in the making.
Six-year-old Niamh Dobbs, of Woodseats, can run 5km in half an hour and competes in regular distances races, such as the 1.5km Mini Great Yorkshire Run which she completed in just five minutes 40 seconds.
Dad Tony said her family realised Niamh’s potential when she ran the 5km Race For Life in memory of her grandmother, aged just five – and since then she has been full of beans and raring to go.
He has high hopes for his daughter’s sporting future and is excited to see how she develops.
Tony said: “The first 5km run she took part in she completed in 32 minutes, which was an eye-opener for us.
“Of course, she’s only young so she could change her mind very quickly – but we’re excited to see how she could develop.
“She’s been inspired by Jess Ennis-Hill and by what we’d say about her.
“We don’t know how far she can go, but fingers crossed she can get better and better.”
Niamh first started attending athletics sessions at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, more than two years ago and would go every day if she could.
Tony said: “Niamh is a very active little girl. We’ve found out about various things she could do and she started going to AthleTots at four.
“But she progressed to the point that we then started to take her to the Athletics Academy at EIS Sheffield, to move her up a bit.
“She just loves it really. She’d go every day if she could! She’s been going to athletics ever since that very first fun run and has recently got into swimming and gymnastics too, so she’s a very competitive girl for her age.
“The sessions are fun-based but with a competitive feel as well, to allow the kids to develop.”
Niamh is now part of a new campaign aimed at highlighting how sport can aid the development of young people.
EIS Sheffield is part of the local charity Sheffield City Trust whose primary charitable objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of the Sheffield people.
SCT’s Skills for Life initiative aims to highlight how sport can encourage the development of skills such as confidence, leadership and communication.
David Bly, who is dry sports programming and engagement manager at SCT, said: “Niamh has clearly proved herself to be a girl of outstanding talents.
“The Skills for Life initiative is all about supporting the development of children and encouraging confidence, leadership and communication.
“We have high hopes for Niamh and many of the other children who take part in our coaching sessions and are fronting this campaign.”