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Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

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Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:25 pm

6 years old and ran a 2:47 HM...not too bad considering she has to take over twice as many steps as most people.

http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/6-year-old-is-youngest-to-run-a-half-marathon
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Re: Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:51 am

Why?  That just might be too young.  Hard to believe she had an attention span that lasted that long.
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Re: Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  Julie on Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:45 am

I'm not a big fan of the idea either. Then again I question how many miles kids are supposed to run before their bones are done developing. I know a lot of people say no marathons until adulthood.
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Re: Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:29 pm

I'm in your corner, Julie after hearing/witnessing several middle school girls with stress fractures when I assisted with a XC program.  I was all for the kids running, but one Dad was extreme in the mileage that he had his young daughter run.  I remember him asking me if I ever had a stress reaction or fracture and my answer was "no" but I certainly didn't run "high" mileage until I was an adult and I didn't even start running until high school.  I was pretty much my full height and weight by then.  

I'm not saying that middle school kids shouldn't run, just that they shouldn't be pushed too hard into too many miles, and that mileage will vary from child to child.


Last edited by Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  Chris Coleman on Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:10 pm

In general, I would be against such young children running long distances. But at that age, running that distance, in that time, I don't think I could apply any rule on the subject. Whatever the rule, she is an exception.
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Re: Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  mountandog on Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:56 pm

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:I'm in your corner, Julie after hearing/witnessing several middle school girls with stress fractures when I assisted with a XC program.  I was all for the kids running, but one Dad was extreme in the mileage that he had his young daughter run.  I remember him asking me if I ever had a stress reaction or fracture and my answer was "no" but I certainly didn't run "high" mileage until I was an adulat and I didn't even start running until high school.  I was pretty much my full height and weight by then.  

I'm not saying that middle school kids shouldn't run, just that they shouldn't be pushed too hard into too many miles, and that mileage will vary from child to child.
mileage will vary and should only be used for guidance - same for cars as for kids.
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Re: Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  Penelope on Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:44 pm

I had a lot of thoughts on this.

Initially, rolled my eyes because it seems like just another attention-getting type thing.

I wonder who's idea it really was to run it, the kid, or the parents.  I suspect it was the child herself, or at least hope so.  I do understand where it came from / the idea of mimicking your parents.  That's how I became a runner; my parents ran every day and that was considered normal / standard to me, and I wanted to do the same.  But a half marathon at age 6, even if it was the girl's desire to do it and her idea, just seems hard to believe that she truly knew what she was getting into and had true motivation to do it. That being said, it may be totally fine that she didn't have any clue of what it would be like.  Isn't that everyone's first experience of a distance race?

I will echo others' thoughts on the bone development.  Kids aren't just little adults and not sure how much of adult running theory can be applied to them.  I started running when I was 13 and couldn't handle even 25-30 miles per week in high school--just persistent shin splints and other injuries, and I did get a stress fracture at age 14.  And I was at my full height at the time; theoretically had "stopped growing." I never got as fast as everyone thought I'd be because I kept getting injured. Now, as an adult runner, I still don't do high miles, but can do 25-30 per week without constant injury.  

I don't have kids, but if I do, and they wanted to run a half marathon at age 6, I probably wouldn't let them.  I think the potential for injury is high, and a negative experience could turn them off for life. I'd probably limit them to 5Ks until high school, then say only 10Ks.
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Re: Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  Julie on Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:58 pm

Sort of related, Kathy, but my one sister is shorter than our other sister and I. She also malnourished herself in adolescence with her dancing and eating disorder. I know my mom thinks that's related but how we eat and exercise in our growing years really does affect us long-term. I'll be happy if my kids enjoy running but I don't think I'd even want them going longer than a 10K or so until they really really knew what they were getting into and I honestly don't even think my dad at age 60 knew what he was saying when he said he wanted to run a marathon with me (and I talked him down to the half anyway).
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Re: Youngest to Run a Half Marathon

Post  Nick Morris on Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:38 pm

My greatest fear is that other parents will read/see this and try to make their child run a HM or longer just to get a "record" and the attention that comes along with it.
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