Just 11, Cole Rahi wins three big Jefferson County races
Competition and the drive to compete can make people do amazing things. We live in a world where dedication and drive can take people to places they never thought they could go.
Cole Rahi, 11, of Madras, won the Mudslinger race for all ages back on March 21. He ran a 5.5 mile run in icy conditions with a time of 48:37, placing first. Rahi didn't stop there, later winning the Todd Beamer Independence Day 5K run with a time of 19:13, earning another first-place in all ages, male or female.
Most recently, the 11-year-old phenom helped his MAC Dash team of Martti Rahi (dad), who did the biking, and swimmer Colby Anderson, 13, place first in the all male category Aug. 11, having bested the all male group time, dating back to 2013.
"The Mudslinger was my favorite race," Cole said. "During the race, I fell into some snow and finished the race. When it was over, I asked my dad if he saw my imprint and he could!"
"I won the Mudslinger and it felt awesome seeing hard work pay off," Cole said. "When I finished the Todd Beamer, I was so happy to get first again."
"Our team goal is to beat Apex (Physical Therapy) next time," Martti Rahi said. "I think they have become our biggest rival, winning the coed MAC Dash."
Cole's victories have not come easy, as he has been vigorously training for more than a year.
When I asked Rahi if I could interview him and his son, he said yes, but with one condition. Rahi told me I had to run the obstacle course they have in their backyard. I accepted the terms and was excited to see what kind of training the family has been doing.
I met up with Cole, his dad, and younger brother, Tyler, 10, around 6:30 p.m. and they wasted no time showing me the course before getting started.
"There is nothing brothers like more than beating each other and Tyler pushes Cole, making him better everyday because of it," Rahi said.
"When my family runs with me, I have an extra drive to beat them," said Cole.
We all started with 10 box jumps on a cement ledge, leading to a small loop around a dirt track, where we came to an old tire. The obstacle runners took turns flipping the tire and jumping over it, five times each. Once we finished with the tire, we ran on a long dirt path for a mile run.
Cole led the way, soaring through the trail. Once the trail ended, we were confronted with small hay bales. The group bearcrawled to each hay bale and jumped over each of the four hay bales with two feet. That led to a rope tied to a large tree.
Each of us did a double arm heave rope workout, pulling the rope up and slamming it down multiple times. After the ropes, we were led to two sledgehammers and a rubber mat. Each of us lifted the hammer and performed 20 crashes with the sledgehammer before moving to push-ups.
Four wooden platforms were built and at the first platform, the group did 20 push-ups, second platform 15 push-ups, all the way down to five push-ups.
We then found ourselves into the grass backyard, filled with cones, workout ladders and a physio ball. At each cone, the group did a series of bodyweight squats, heading to the ladder.
A series of football-type workouts were done on the ladder and some inverted pull-ups on the edge of the trampoline. The group climbed over the backyard fence, did more tire flips, ran back through the dirt trail and ended with everyone climbing a big tree and sprinting to the finish line.
The course was not meant for the out of shape, maybe not even for the kind of in shape crowd. It pushed you both physically and mentally. When I asked how often they run this, my jaw dropped when they responded four to five times a week.
Training started a little over a year ago in the back of their garage.
"I do this because I really enjoy the push and the workout," Cole said. "My dad really motivates me when it comes to running. I want to continue this and maybe someday, Olympics. Normally I run with my family, but sometimes they fall behind."
"We can't keep up with him anymore," said Rahi. "Most races, he ends up finishing the race by himself, without us."
"I like running in the evening, when it's cooler outside," Cole said. "I really like running because I love competing, trying to beat other people and my own times. When I run, it is really peaceful and I just focus on small sounds around me, like my feet hitting the pavement or the rustle of some bushes."
The Rahis plan on competing in Fresno in April and are hoping to compete in about 10 races, starting up again in January. They are taking a break in the fall for tackle football. Cole is a three-sport athlete, competing in football, basketball and baseball, with football being his favorite.
"His body is still very young, so we try not to push him past a mile and a half," said Rahi.
The Rahi family's course was designed for bodyweight workouts only, no heavy iron weights and no longer than 2 miles.
"My goals were to beat my dad in a race, but then it changed to beating my own times once I started beating my dad in races," said Cole.
Rahi is a former college football player at Southern Virginia, who graduated in 2007 and is still very active when it comes to physical activity. Cole won his first race against his dad at the age of 10, during the 2017 Todd Beamer run.
Cole finished top five in the 2017 Mudslinger race and both the 2016 and 2017 Todd Beamer race, but finally reached gold in 2018.
"The most important thing for everyone out there to know is that yeah, he trains a lot, trains hard, does tire flips and hill runs everyday, but what makes people like my son and people like him special is being able to take his body to places where he can take his body," Rahi said. "I have never seen someone who can take his body places nobody else will go. He beats a lot of people just based on that. He can block out everything, including pain and take his body places that no one else will go mentally."