Two parents from Ohio, US, have gone on the defensive after their 6-year-old son ran a full marathon.
YouTuber, Ben and Kami Crawford took to Instagram to celebrate their son Rainier’s efforts, posting photos of the young boy as he completed the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio.
But in the post, they also revealed Rainier’s struggles during the grueling event, saying that he “was struggling physically and wanted to take a break and sit every three minutes” around mile 20 and that after a planned refreshment table was empty, Rainier “was crying and we were moving slow.”
The Crawfords then said they promised Rainier extra ‘Pringles’ if he tries to complete the marathon, and that worked.
What was supposed to be a ‘motivational’ story according to the family, turned out to be full criticism online from concerned commenters and several reports to Child Protection Services (CPS) who have now gotten involved and paid a surprise visit to the family.
“A (6-year-old) who is ‘struggling physically’ does not realize they have the right to stop and should,” two-time Olympic marathon runner Kara Goucher wrote on Twitter.
“I’m not questioning motivation or saying it is bad parenting. But as an Olympic athlete, I promise you this is not good for the child.”
The Crawfords defending their action, said running was their son, Rainier’s idea in the first place and that he begged to do it after seeing his older siblings do it in past years. The Crawfords have six children, and they ran the marathon as a family. They even did a “Good Morning America” interview to defend themselves.
“We really care about our kids’ emotional and physical health,” Kami Crawford said on the ABC program. “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.”
The marathon the family was engaged in technically has an 18-and-older requirement, but the Crawford children had run unauthorized and unofficially in the past. Organizer Iris Bush said, “Our requirement of 18+ for participation in the marathon will be strictly observed moving forward.”
On Saturday night, May 7, the family defended themselves one more revealing how CPC grilled their kids for an hour.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to make running fun,” they said. “Marathons have always been an optional activity and as the kids have gotten older the training for the marathons is 100% elective.”