A family is facing intense backlash for having their six-year-old boy run a 26.2-mile marathon as he cried. Some called the family ‘abusive’, and once critic accused them of ‘bribing’ the boy with Pringles potato chips to finish.
Ben and Kami Crawford had their son Rainier participate with the rest of their family in the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati last Sunday.
The Crawfords, of Bellevue, Kentucky, addressed comments on Instagram that Rainier was crying on the race course.
‘Many people are inaccurately reporting that people saw him for the “entire” or “majority” of the race crying and that there are numerous witnesses,’ the Crawfords wrote on Tuesday.
‘With our finishing time this is impossible as we finished the last 5 miles predominately alone and most people’s experience with us was in a one time passing of 30 seconds.’
The parents acknowledged that Rainier ‘had a fall’ but said that ‘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,’ the post stated.
The Crawfords also claimed that they asked their son ‘numerous times if he wanted to stop and he was VERY clear that his preference was to continue’.
All eight family members participated in a marathon together for the first time. The five older children waited more than an hour at mile 25 and they all crossed the finish line after 8 hours and 35 minutes.
The Crawfords came under fire even more when they posted a photo on Instagram of Rainier holding stacks of Pringles and stating that he was ‘struggling physically’ during the race.
Olympic marathon runner Lee Troop commented on ‘race organizers allowing a 6 year old to run a marathon’.
‘Child stopping every 3mins after 20 miles, crying and emotionally distressed. Parents bribing him to finish & he’ll get Pringles,’ Troop tweeted. ‘Parents seeing no issue in allowing this to happen. Everything about this is wrong!’
The Flying Pig Marathon in a statement said that it ‘takes the safety and security of all participants very seriously’.
‘We receive numerous requests for special accommodations each year and carefully evaluate each one,’ the marathon stated.
‘Our goal is to provide a positive race experience for all participants while supporting them along the course. The Flying Pig Marathon was founded on the idea of hosting a world-class road race experience and will always strive to do so.’
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