It’s not every day when Grand Junction has a world champion. But, it does and his name is Jed Kleager. Jed is an 11-year-old student at Redlands Mesa Middle School and he’s the best Spartan Race runner (age 10-11) on Earth.
Jed took home first place at the Snowmass Spartan race and second in Fort Carson which qualified him to compete in the world championship in Castaic Lake, California.
Against participants from 15 other countries, Jed won the two-mile obstacle race with a time of 27:07.
“It feels great,” Jed said. “I worked really hard to achieve it and it feels good to have that title as a world champion.”
“It’s surreal,” Jed’s mother Katie Kleager said. “I’m very proud of him, it can make me emotional and teary especially watching him get followed by cameras at the race.”
“As a dad your heart just wants to explode watching him succeed.” Jed’s father, Jimmy said.
Jed wanted to do Spartan Races when his parents started three years ago.
“My mom and dad asked me if I wanted to go to one of them and ever since my first race I’ve loved them.” Jed said.
“They had a kids version,” Katie said. “He tried to do the open version, which is a non competitive race, he loved it. Did great. We encouraged him to try the competitive version the next year and was winning those. So, he kept going.”
Jed has two older brothers, but is definitely the athlete in the family. His parents are motivated people who love sports and now Jed is taking it to the next level.
He trains five days a week. Three days he works out with his dad at Ridgeline Fitness, the other two days he runs four to five miles, and will also go to Legacy Academy Gymnastics and Ninja twice a week for ninja training.
“It’s natural for him,” Jimmy said. “When I get home from work every night, he’s like, ‘Okay dad… when are we going to the gym?”
“He wants to do his best,” Katie said. “He sets high standards for himself, and wants to achieve.”
Jed says that the hardest part of spartan races is the running, which is also his favorite part.
“By running you can accomplish a lot of stuff,” Jed said. “If you’re persistent in running you could win track meets and Spartan races.”
Along with the running, Spartan races also require getting through many obstacles, which is where his ninja training comes in. He’s gotten so good that he’s going to start doing ninja competitions, including, potentially, America Ninja Warrior Junior.
“There’s some obstacles you’ve never seen before and you go and try them out and they’re super fun.” Jed said.
Jed is a multi-talented kid who also plays basketball and football, and keeps himself motivated by thinking of what’s next.
“I think about whatever competition I’m doing next, the motivation to move forward that’s what I think about.”Jed Kleager
Jimmy has been coaching Jed in flag football the last four to five years, but this past year was his first in tackle.”
“We saw a specialness in the way he’s focused, the way he trains, the way he wants to better himself,” Jimmy said. “We put no pressure on him, it’s been go out, do your best, and have fun.”
Jed’s favorite athlete is Tim Tebow and said he might do another Spartan World Championship next year.