Family Faces Massive Backlash After 6-Year-Old Runs Marathon

Good Morning America via YouTube

Running a marathon is difficult for most people. Even if you’ve trained for that day for months and months, 26.2 miles is still incredibly far to run, no matter how old you are. That’s why a lot of people were shocked when they saw a six-year-old running the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 1.

The boy’s parents, Kami and Ben Crawford, have six kids in total and use YouTube as a way to share their stories as a family. After the backlash came pouring through about the 6-year-old, named Rainer, running, they posted a response via social media.

“We have never forced any of our children to run a marathon and we cannot even imagine that as feasible practically or emotionally,” the Crawfords said. “We have given all of our kids the option for every race.”

The parents say that Rainer begged them to let him run the race alongside them and said they wouldn’t have made him continue had he shown any signs of danger—which they claim, he did not.

“We asked him numerous times if he wanted to stop and he was VERY clear that his preference was to continue,” they said. “We did not see any sign of heat exhaustion or dehydration and honored his request to keep on going. We go to great lengths to prioritize our kids’ health.”

Many people argue saying that they saw Rainer crying at one point, which had led to the speculation at all—and the Crawfords acknowledge that.

“Yes there were tears,” they explained. “He had a fall and every single member of our family has cried during marathons. These experiences were very limited compared to what has been reported.”

Others were baffled since the race is typically limited for people ages 18 or older—and organizers of the race addressed that decision too, which wasn’t made lightly.

“The father was determined to do the race with his young child regardless,” said. Marathon director Iris Simpson Bush. “They had done it as bandits, in prior years, before we had any knowledge of it and we knew he was likely to do so again. The intent was to try to offer protection and support if they were on our course (Medical, Fluid and Replenishment).

To hear from Rainer himself on running the marathon, check out the video below.

Have you ever run a full marathon before? What do you think of a 6-year-old taking on that long of a race?