The oldest Pear Blossom runner, 85-year-old John Norberg, has said he simply wants to finish today's 10-mile race in Medford.
The youngest has his sights set on winning.
Eagle Point's James Gros, who turned 9 on Feb. 4, will be one of the more than 1,600 runners to toe the line for this morning's race, and everyone else will be older.
Nevertheless, said the third-grader at Eagle Rock Elementary, "I'm gonna beat everybody."
Gros is about four months the junior of the next-youngest entrant, Central Point's Ethan Saunders.
Gros was encouraged to enter the race by his aunt, Liz Gros, who will be running with him. But it likely didn't take much arm twisting.
"We live out in the country," said Alisha Gros, James' mom. "He's out running around the hills and riding his bike all the time. We do bike rides around our roads. He's pretty playful. We don't watch much TV around here. When we get bored, we find creative ways to keep busy."
Alisha and Chuck Gros have two other children, ages 6 and 3.
James Gros' favorite sport is football, but he also enjoys soccer and basketball. He sees himself someday taking part in track and field, but to date, his only "race" is in a walk-a-thon at school, where he guessed he covered about eight miles.
His inexperience with road runs has done little to suppress his confidence, however. Perhaps because he has a game plan.
Priority No. 1, he said, is to "drink lots of water."
"I'm gonna walk at first," he added, "then when I'm in the middle, about four miles, I'll start jogging. Then when we get close to the end, I'll start running."
And if all goes according to plan, he'll leave many in his dust.
— Tim Trower