Anyone else see the story on the six year old who ran a marathon?

GreatLakes

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 6, 2015
The Flying Pig is my favorite race so I have been following it. I've stopped being surprised by things parents do as "social influences" 🤮 but the decision by the race director is inexcusable. Tell them no and if they bandit the race you kick them off or at the very least you have the legal cover that you told them no and warned against running it anyway.

I am all for pushing kids but 6 is way too young for a marathon.
 

HangWithMerida

And away we go!
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Yes, I saw that story and was shocked that the parents ever entertained that it was a good idea. Then the race director let it happen. Multiple failures were at play there. There is no way that kid went through proper training so beyond running the distance, he did it undertrained, putting him at an even higher risk of injury. Of course people that don’t really understand the work that goes into training for a marathon or even what distance a marathon is will give the parents the approval they are seeking. The criticism will be lost on them.
 

Herding_Cats

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
I'm sure they've scrubbed it off their pages by now, but the parents also said he started "training" 3 MONTHS AGO.

And they have done that race (and others) as bandits with their other kids when they were similar ages.

The best part? I'm pretty sure the whole thing only came out because the parents made a big "thank you" post to the race director for letting them in, helping pay (or waiving?) their registration fees AND giving their other under-aged kids medals after she found out they did the race last year. Which again.....they were just looking for attention.
 

Baloo in MI

I don’t have to, I get to.
Joined
Jan 28, 2015
When I saw this I new exactly who the family was! A few years ago when I started following Appalachian Trail thru hikers on YouTube I came across a family of like 8 that did the full hike (2000+ miles) with a two year old in tow! Thus is roughly 6 months in the winter, spring and summer elements! And this family stopped at one point to go run a marathon with the older kids…

So I looked it up, same family! I am all for encouraging exercise and the outdoors but this is not ok! Sounds like child protective services visited the family.
 

bumbershoot

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
I can get where the director was coming from in trying to help people he knew were going to do it anyway.

I think this is a good, direct, strong statement owning his mistake.

"I assume full responsibility for the decision and accept that it was not the best course of action. Our requirement of 18+ for participation in the marathon will be strictly observed moving forward.

At 11 I did a walkathon for MD. One of those old-school pledge-per-mile walkathons. I do not remember how long it was, but it was LONG. I was unable to walk properly for the rest of the weekend. I cannot imagine being 6 for something like that.
 

lookingforsunshine

it never hurts to keep looking for sunshine
Joined
Dec 6, 2021
I'm sure they've scrubbed it off their pages by now, but the parents also said he started "training" 3 MONTHS AGO.
He ran 3 miles for the first time February 10.
Their pediatrician should read them the riot act. Even if they say every kid has a choice, what six year old wants to be left behind when the entire family is doing something? Adult fails on multiple levels.
This.

The whole situation is so icky to me. And I’ve read their book (I’ve read most of the main thru hiking memoirs). The fact that their social handle is “fight for together” just doesn’t sit right with me for an unexplainable reason. It’s like they know there’s something wrong.

And their whole schtick that the kids always have a choice feels wrong too. The parents are in a power situation and the kids seem like they have been manipulated to want to please the parents. Their videos remind me of love bombing. It seems like there is a lot more psychologically going on than free will/choice here.
 

Onceuponamarathon

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
I can get where the director was coming from in trying to help people he knew were going to do it anyway.

I think this is a good, direct, strong statement owning his mistake.

"I assume full responsibility for the decision and accept that it was not the best course of action. Our requirement of 18+ for participation in the marathon will be strictly observed moving forward.

At 11 I did a walkathon for MD. One of those old-school pledge-per-mile walkathons. I do not remember how long it was, but it was LONG. I was unable to walk properly for the rest of the weekend. I cannot imagine being 6 for something like that.

It's always interesting to see other people's perspectives. Just sharing my own view for discussion, not as a judgement of yours, but I came away feeling as if it was a really weak response.

First, the RD justified their actions by saying "well they were just going to bandit anyway", as opposed to saying "the correct response to their bandit-ing should have been to ban them from the race. Not only for the safety of the children involved but for the integrity of the race and to prevent the potential additional and unexpected burdens on other participants, staff, volunteers, and medical crews that come with banditing runners. We failed to do that and is not in line with our goals for the Flying Pig race weekend."

The RD took "full responsibility" but gave 0 insight as to what that looked like beyond enforcing the existing rule. I wanted to hear something like "from now on, any waivers issued will be for 16+ and up only, follow a 3 step review process and require a medical sign-off." Or instead of "strictly enforced" simply say from now on no waivers will be granted for any reason.

What's more, there was no addressing the fact that RD said that the family "didn't need to get a doctor's note" for the 6 year old because "they seem trained". The kid never did more than 10 miles, and obviously, the RD is not a doctor or familiar with their training programs.

It's just so blindingly clear to me that this RD should be in no position to make high-level safety decisions for a race. And there is NO comment from the race on how they are going to correct this foundational problem - i.e., the Race Director. Either by replacing her or putting more levels of approval and accountability within the organization.

I understand all the attention is on the crazy parents, and rightfully so. But personally, I was looking to run this race and now I won't because I genuinely wonder what other rules or corners got waved off by the RD because of her apparent incompetency. Are they properly staffed with medical volunteers? Do they have the proper insurance? The response as delivered gives me no confidence that flying pig isn't doing sketchy stuff in other areas of the race as well.
 

bumbershoot

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
The fact that their social handle is “fight for together” just doesn’t sit right with me for an unexplainable reason. It’s like they know there’s something wrong.
Yeah. When I was married we used to say it was us against the world. Turns out that's not a healthy sort of marriage. If your friends don't like the two of you together, you might want to listen LOL.

The RD took "full responsibility" but gave 0 insight as to what that looked like beyond enforcing the existing rule. I wanted to hear something like "from now on, any waivers issued will be for 16+ and up only, follow a 3 step review process and require a medical sign-off." Or instead of "strictly enforced" simply say from now on no waivers will be granted for any reason.
They don't have to be instantly perfect, IMO. But "strictly enforced," to me, does mean no waivers granted.

Q:
How old do you have to be to run the marathon?
A:
Marathon participants need to be 18 years of age on race day. Half marathon and relay participants need to be 14 years of age on race day. 10K participants need to be 12 years of age.
So now they just stick to that.
 

Ariel484

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
There’s a post from the dad (pasted below) where he talks about how the aid tables were closed by the time they got to them, so so much for the RD’s excuse of providing on-course support.

Also not mentioned in any of these articles - the kid was bribed to keep going by the parents. They promised him Pringles at the end. Sort of contradicts the “he was free to stop at any time” statement.

From the dad’s FB:
“[he] knew they usually hand out Pringles around mile 20. He was struggling physically and wanted to take a break and sit every three minutes. After 7 hours, we finally got to mile 20 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 if he kept moving. I had to promise him another sleeve to get him in the family pic at the finish line. Today I paid him off.”

This whole this is just so gross. Even this short post from the dad: his young child was clearly upset and in pain, but according to what the dad said in the new articles, the burden was on HIM, the six-year-old child, to decide to stop when he knew the rest of his family was going to keep going. That’s a lot of pressure for a little kid and it seems like since he would have been the only one who didn’t finish it would have been almost alienating for him. The dad, the PARENT in the situation, should have actually had his child’s best interests at heart and made the decision for him to stop (obviously even better if he never started, but I digress). But he didn’t do that because his kid is, I don’t know…his product, almost? Does that make sense??

And then - bribing the kid to keep going with Pringles. Another bribe to get him to take a picture, because the dad needs it for social media. It only works if the whole family is in the picture. Even the phrase “I paid him off.” He is your child, he’s not your employee.

And it’s accompanied by a photo of the kid with a huge smile holding his Pringles. It’s so manipulative on the part of the parents that they know they can take advantage of their small kid who really doesn’t know any better, just so they can get some social media views.

The RD didn’t do anything admirable here IMO. She enabled these attention wh*res and needs to be fired.

I also saw a post from the dad saying something like “CPS has investigated us for doing car crazier things” - my dude, that is not the flex that you think it is. 😖
 

Baloo in MI

I don’t have to, I get to.
Joined
Jan 28, 2015
When I was following their escapade on the Appalachian Trail I would fluctuate between thinking what a cool thing for a family to do and this is so irresponsible! I stopped following after a bit because I would get upset to learn that they were bribing their kids with promises of candy or a hotel stay to keep them going down the trail. And at times putting their children in danger!

IMO if you want to run marathons or go on long distance hikes, great. If you want to nurture a close knit family and do lots of stuff together, great. But if you have small children, you do not get to do both! Doing that is about ego, self promotion and social media money…
 

MommyCMickey

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
The fact that that baby (because he’s 6 and is still a baby) wanted to stop and they bribed him with food is beyond disgusting. CPS needs to get involved because this is far from ok and farrrr from healthy parenting.
 







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