Two Kentucky parents have revealed they were visited by Child Protective Services after allowing their six-year-old son to run a marathon.
Rainier, the son of Ben and Kami Crawford, completed the 26.2-mile Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 1 May in eight and a half hours, prompting online criticism and complaints to CPS.
The Crawfords have now issued a series of statements on the matter, rubbishing complaints they ‘dragged’ Rainier through the race and insisting claims by medical professionals that running such long distances can be detrimental to a child’s health ‘generally cite obscure sources’.
Ben and Kami have six children and share their family antics – which centre heavily on running – on social media with their 13,700 followers.
Taking to Instagram on Monday, 9 May, the Crawfords posted a photo of Rainier sitting shirtless in their garden while being interviewed by CPS social workers, noting that the process was ‘scary’ for their son.
They said on social media: “This was a scary process because usually children are interrogated away from parents against their will, and their answers determine the agency's legal rights to take away the kids.”
Despite Ben and Kami’s insistence that Rainier’s participation in the marathon was voluntary and his ‘food, liquid, electrolyte intake and temperature’ were monitored throughout the race, angry comments continued to pile up beneath their posts.
As a result, the parents issued a lengthy statement on Saturday. Published in full by MailOnline, a segment of their letter read: “We have never forced any of our children to run a marathon and we cannot even imagine that as feasible practically or emotionally.
“Yes, there were tears. 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 and despite the incredible physical and emotional difficulty of running a marathon the amount of his crying is comparable to what we would have experienced had we stayed home on a Sunday morning.”
They concluded: “You cannot bribe a child to train hundreds of hours and run 26 miles through the heat for a can of pringles. If you can't see this you are lazy or not listening
"Our parenting methods are unconventional but we do not think accusations or arguments with incorrect facts are helpful."
Ben and Kami also cited a 2019 article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which notes ‘the youth runner is especially vulnerable during periods of rapid growth’.
The couple said: “In their most daunting statement, they state that running 'may place the youth runner at risk for injury to the musculoskeletal structures’. The key word is 'may'.”
They added: “There is no direct link, there is no guarantee, [and] there is no weight of evidence.”
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@fightfortogether
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