Parents Slammed For Allowing 6-Year-Old To Run 8 Hour Marathon

A family is facing backlash after they allowed their 6-year-old to enter and compete in the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati last weekend. Rainier Crawford, 6, ran the 26.2-mile course along with his five siblings and parents, finishing in 8 hours and 35 minutes.

Parents Slammed For Allowing 6-Year-Old To Run 8 Hour Marathon

“Some of the training was like, hard, but I falled sometimes but sometimes, when I did one, it was like, normal,” Rainier told “Good Morning America.”

Crawford’s father, Ben Crawford, wrote on Instagram that his youngest son did struggle physically during the marathon.

“He was struggling physically and wanted to take a break and sit every three minutes,” Crawford wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

“After 7 hours, we finally got to mile 20 and only to find an abandoned table and empty boxes. He was crying and we were moving slow so I told him I’d buy him two sleeves [of potato chips] if he kept moving.”

Crawford added that he was impressed by his son’s abilities.

“I didn’t know if he was going to be able to do it so to be able to run alongside of him and to watch his little body, it’s pretty mind-blowing,” he told the outlet.

And since the father posted about his child’s accomplishments, many on social media were quick to accuse the Crawfords of child abuse.

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Kara Goucher, who is a two-time Olympian and long-distance runner, was one who felt strongly about the choice, writing to Twitter Wednesday:

“I don’t know who needs to hear this but a six-year-old cannot fathom what a marathon will do to them physically. A six-year-old does not understand what embracing misery is. A six-year who is ‘struggling physically’ does not realize they have the right to stop and should.”

Organizers of the Flying Pig Marathon defended their decision to let every member of the Crawford family participate in the 2022 marathon.

“The intent was to try to offer protection and support if they were on our course (Medical, Fluid and Replenishment),” Iris Simpson Bush, the president and CEO of the marathon’s parent organization Pig Works, wrote in an open letter posted to the organization’s website.

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The nonprofit also told the outlet they knew the Crawfords would run the Flying Pig race despite the marathon’s age limitation, which usually only allows runners 18 and older to participate.

“Our requirement of 18+ for participation in the marathon will be strictly observed moving forward,” Bush added in the open letter.

The Crawfords also mentioned how they do not pressure their children to do intense activities such as running a marathon but adhere to their kids’ wishes if they feel strongly.

“We really care about our kids’ emotional and physical health. But we also care about their agency and if they want to do something, and we, you know, assess the risks and figure out if it’s OK,” Kami Crawford, Rainier’s mom, said.

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