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Dad gets 6 year old to run 26.2

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,739 ✭✭✭ReeReeG


    I had seen it and thought it was the same race you had run alright! It's utter madness, and even more baffling is how the organisers allowed it. The parents are digging their heels into the ground defending themselves it seems. Idiots.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,016 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph


    I think most of the claims around the marathon doing some lifelong physical damage to the kid are rubbish and without any evidence, just variations on the "running is bad for your knees" nonsense.

    The problem here is forcing the kid to do something they don't want to do, which potentially puts them off being physically active later in life and does then create problems. Also the making a media circus out of the kid by the parents.



  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus


    The two parents were raised by Christian fundamentalists and although they've separated themselves from that church, they're still very much in the evangelism space. These people don't understand the concept of choice for children; you do what your parents tell you to do, because that's the godly way. And that's all the children know.

    It's not the first insanity this pair have gotten themselves embroiled in.

    It's incredibly dangerous. Not only from the obvious joint and bone damage that could be done, but children's bodies don't do endurance like adults do. The same severity of signals don't get sent, and children don't fully understand how to interpret them. They will literally keep going no matter what if they think that's what they're supposed to do.

    There was a grandmother in the US recently imprisoned for murder after making her granddaughter run for at least 3 hours as punishment. The child collapsed and died. Where an adult would obviously just stop and refuse to keep going, a child is capable of pushing themselves to much more dangerous levels when they don't understand they have a choice.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,016 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph


    The obvious joint and bone damage isn't obvious at all, and there isn't anything I've ever seen to show it happens, other than people repeatedly saying that it must happen. There's nothing to show that kids running longer distances, when not forced to, is doing them future bone and joint harm.

    The risks around forcing the kid to do stuff they don't want to, and going past the point where they are capable or in a position to refuse, or know that they should refuse, at that time is real though, like with the example of the grandmother.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,574 ✭✭✭Kat1170


    So you think more kids should be forced to do endurance events in order to have an database to prove either way if it's safe or not. And before you jump down my throat, how would you go about proving wether it's safe or not other than forcing kids to be lab rats.

    Erring on the side of caution would be the correct decision IMVHO.



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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,016 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph


    Nope, I think people shouldn't claim that kids are damaged by running long distances when there is no evidence to support that claim.

    No need to force kids to do stuff though and there is now actually going to be useful data source on this kind of thing from parkrun. They have 18 years worth of running data, and just having a quick look at event 100 in Bushy in 2006 (because there were more people running it by then) and of the identifiable children in the junior categories at the time, including a couple in J10, only one of them seemed to have not subsequently run in more recent years up to pre pandemic at least. They would be a fantastic source of data to actually do a study on and find out what they were doing back in the day, find the kids who haven't run more recently and see why, see if the kids who are still running are impacted in anyway. Even if one of those J10's in 2006 was only 4 at the time (can't tell that from the public parkrun data) they would now be in their 20's and no reason why they couldn't be approached, and their parents, to find out what they did back in the day etc.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,574 ✭✭✭Kat1170


    Until that takes place, there's no evidence to prove it doesn't either.


    Just playing devils advocate, I've absolutely no skin in the game.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,016 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph


    Other than there aren't examples of individuals who ran long distances as a kid and subsequently have joint/ bone issues being presented. This isn't the first kid to run/ walk a long way.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,574 ✭✭✭Kat1170


    Ah yeah, I remember all the other kids that have ran marathons without any bother now 🙄🙄


    As I said, I've no skin in the game, you obviously have and won't hear anything other than your own narrative. Bye bye.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,016 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph


    It's not about proving that it's possible for kids to run marathons and suffer no consequences, I did as did multiple hundreds of other kids at my school and other local schools over the years back in the '80's. It's about if there are any actual negative consequences, and nobody has anything to show that there is any damage done despite people claiming that it is a fact.

    Should a 6 year old do a marathon? Not overly bothered about that really, for me it would be about if the kid is being forced to do something they have no interest or desire to do and if the parent is exploiting them which is the issue in this instance. Throwing around claims of lifelong injuries being caused and that running is somehow a dangerous thing to do is my problem.


    I'm sure nobody would be getting angry about some kids doing a sponsored 8 hour long game of football, or skipping, or probably even if the kid had hiked up and down a mountain with their family that happened to take 8hrs. But somehow the activity of walking/ running for 8hrs whilst wearing a race number is seen as a hyper risky thing for kids to do. It does no good perpetuating those ideas in getting people to lead active lifestyles, if they think that walking/ running is bad for you somehow.



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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 18,147 CMod ✭✭✭✭The Black Oil


    I don't think anyone knows the long term impact. However, this case aside, there are reasonable concerns around what's developmentally appropriate or not. If people specialise early in sport that is a risk factor for eating disorders. Garmin had a podcast a while ago where 8-9 year olds were going to sports psychologist, Dr Andrew Jacobs, owing to burn out because of organised leagues at 4-5 ('absurd', his opinion) and sport no longer being fun. We do not need to build that sort of culture.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,016 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph


    Yep, that is the area where I'd see the dangers for the future of the kids. Keeping the activities fun and not taking the competition too serious. It's about creating healthy habits and an interest in being active in whatever form that takes.

    Although I think we do have an idea on the long term impact of sports on kids as there are plenty of professional sports people who were playing tennis, football or whatever from a very young age and those would have involved the kids playing for hours on end in the streets doing repetitive exercises with their bats and balls. Whilst those that reach to top of their games obviously picked up professional coaches from some point whilst still kids, there will have been thousands of other kids doing exactly the same as them at the same ages who just didn't get noticed or picked up.

    We don't hear of those who didn't quite make it as having been permanently damaged from kicking a football against a wall for hours on end as a kid. Why is running the sport that is considered dangerous for kids to take part in?

    Overly serious or competitive sport for young kids I think is going to create problems for later in life. Kids just being active in whatever they enjoy, not so much.



  • Registered Users Posts: 33 Mywifetoldme


    I walked a marathon in school for charity when I was 11. It was in London.

    It was in 1968. Different times



  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,428 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal



    All of the above,

    Talking to a 11 year old few weeks back and he had been playing a tennis match for 3hours!

    One thing about the marathon, the kid wasn't running in a competition. If they finished past the cut off it was also likely 6, 7 or 8hours which is hardly super fast. Should they kid do it regularly...likely not.

    I find the level of outrage and claims of long term effects a bit crazy, there's far worse things people do to their kids like feeding them McDonalds and smoking around them. There's far more proven long term effects to those things.



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,709 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump



    Big difference between an 11 year old and a 6 year old


    Having a 6 year old do anything continuously for 8 and a half hours is cruel. Never mind having them running/walking. The father should be jailed



  • Registered Users Posts: 54,288 ✭✭✭✭walshb


    Parents are reckless and dangerous idiots. As well as pretentious attention seekers. World is full of these types people.



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,259 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig


    It is not the first time this has happened

    I have heard many times over the years that distance running is bad for kids but have yet to see convincing evidence that this is true. Mostly is seems to be based on feelings and underestimating what kids are capable of.

    I don't think I would encourage my child to do a marathon but if he/she was determined to do it I like to think I would support them.

    Also they averaged what? 3 miles an hour? Less than 5km/hrs. Hardly that stressing on a childs body.

    If the parents were coercing him then that is another issue but it is not clear from the article that this was the case



  • Registered Users Posts: 54,288 ✭✭✭✭walshb


    Just because young children can “do” this doesn’t mean they should be doing it.

    Coerced or not. 6 year olds would like to do heaps of stuff, coerced or not. They have no grasp of the realities of the stuff.

    Allowing a 6 year old to do/attempt 26.2 miles travelling forward (running/walking/crawling/whatever) over 8 hours is just an absurd thought process

    it’s all to do with parents looking for attention. Wanting to be noticed.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭demfad


    Kids run/have run long distances daily in places like Kenya. Some of them have subsequently run world records in the marathon.

    A coach of no less stature than Arthur Lydiard stated that children could run 100 miles/pw safely.

    There is no proof that running one marathon might affect a child permanently. If that's your 'narrative' then back it up.

    Edit: I agree that kids can push themselves harder than adults and there is danger there

    Post edited by demfad on


  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭Runster


    I remember getting the train to Galway as a 6 year old child with my 15 year old brother.

    My mother just had a baby and my dad was working so they let myself and my brother

    go down alone to our relations in Leiter Mor.

    My brother was supposed to give me a crossbar from the train station but he had problems with the bike.

    We walked from about two miles into the journey from Galway train station to Leitir Mor which was about

    28 miles altogether.

    I don't remember feeling too bad, just a bit home sick.

    We wern't racing along but it was a continuous journey.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,167 ✭✭✭monkeybutter


    What time did you get to Galway and were you out walking the roads for about 16 hours is it



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,167 ✭✭✭monkeybutter


    Did the brother push the bike 50k?


    Did a relative you wonder why you were about 10 hours late


    And did no one in your dream not take pity on the decrepid teen and 6 year old to offer a lift



  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭Runster



    I only remember bits of it, my brother pushed the bike and we crashed in a field for a while and he put some of his clothes on me to keep warm.

    It did take us the entire day and evening to get there. I remember it was very dark and we had the torch from the bike on.

    We did meet a Garda along the way but he didn't offer us a lift or anything. He just quizzed us a bit about where we were going.

    There was no mobile phones then but a few days into the trip, my mother came down with the baby.

    I dont even remember anyone in Leitir Mor having a home phone.

    My mothers aunt was still drawing water from the lake beside her home for the dinner etc.

    The main road was more like a Boreen than a main road which probably explains why my brother ended up having trouble with the bike.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,167 ✭✭✭monkeybutter


    Was this a dream?

    What year was this? It might explain it more


    Terrible parents and family either way


    A crosser for 50k



  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭Runster


    You're not wrong 😁

    I cant imagine any parent letting their 6 year old go off like that with a 15 year old these days for sure.

    It was a different era.

    And no it wasnt a dream, it was the 80s.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,617 ✭✭✭Enduro


    There's a fierce bang of Karen Switzer being attacked at the Boston marathon off some of the commentary around this. Running a marathon is too dangerous, and people need to be stopped from doing it for their own health and safety. Who needs evidence for anything as obvious as that!



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,090 ✭✭✭✭Pherekydes


    You're comparing a 6 year-old child with an adult woman, who ran the marathon of her own free will. The child was under the stated age limit for entry (18), and finished outside the time limit.



  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,887 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty


    The child was crying, wanted to sit down every 3 minutes and struggled physically.

    The Dad basically bribed him to keep going.

    I have a 6 year old.No way in hell would she run for 8 hours.No way would I push her to do that.45 mins swimming lesson in a pool, she is tired for the day. 1hour 15 min GAA practice, she is tired.And she is a fit, active child.

    Serious questions need to be asked of that parent, never mind the risks from dehydration, nausea, the rest.Why on earth did he think that was a good idea?Following a child's lead if they are interested is one thing but sure they haven't a clue what marathon is.You can't follow their lead when they don't know, you are making their decision for them.



  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,428 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal


    It doesn't matter if it was her own free will, the thinking at the time is she could seriously hurt or even kill herself from doing so.

    It wasn't based in reality or evidence but it was the thinking. Much like the outrage here.

    For those saying its a run, if you do a 26mile distance in 8hours you are doing a 18.27min/mile pace. Thats a fast'ish walk.

    People get outraged about all sorts of things with children, with little or no evidence.

    I regularly bring little cabaal out in a running buggy, he's done a few 13mile runs and not a bother with him. But do I get comments about it and about how he could get hurt etc? Do I ever!

    I also have a cycle trailer he goes out in, he loves it. But again I often get comments about that too.



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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,016 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph


    There isn't any risk from dehydration in a city marathon, or even just running around the course in a city after its packed up and most people have gone home already. Far more risk of drinking too much because people are bombarded with messages about dehydration, which doesn't happen.


    Of course I'm not saying that getting a kid to do a marathon is good parenting, just that it's not actually dangerous to them... Other than they will potentially grow up to hate exercise and then become unhealthy due to poor lifestyle years later. That family sound like a bunch of idiots, but not that they are physically damaging their kids.



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