Parents of six-year-old who ran a marathon with them say CPS have visited their family

The parents of a six-year-old boy who ran a marathon in nearly nine hours revealed on Monday that they have been visited by Child Protective Services – as they slammed athletes for sparking ’emotional breakdowns.’

Ben and Kami Crawford, of Bellevue, Kentucky, have been heavily criticized online since they first posted photos of their son, Rainier, running in the 22.6 mile Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 1.

And in an Instagram post on Monday, they shared a photo of Rainier, shirtless, as he was interviewed by a Child Protective Services social workers, writing: ‘On Friday, social workers came to our house and interviewed our children because leaders in the running community call running with children wrong.’

‘This needs to stop,’ they captioned the post.

‘Our children are having emotional breakdowns, NOT from running, but from a mob that has been weaponized by running’s most accomplished and celebrated individuals,’ the Kentucky parents wrote, in an apparent jab at US Olympian Kara Goucher who previously tweeted that six-years-old is too young for a marathon.

‘They are stating that children running is abusive and not providing any data or facts,’ the parents of six continued in their Facebook post. ‘The reports and stance are false.

‘Hundreds of witnesses, including police officers and hours of video footage corroborate [our claims].

‘When will you apologize and retract?’ 

The parents also spoke about the experience in an Instagram Live video, as they mentioned this is actually the second time they have been interrogated by CPS, and explained in a newly released Frequently Asked Questions report that the social workers arrived ‘at our house unannounced and interviewed our children, parents and grandmother five days after the marathon.

‘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.’

Ben and Kami Crawford, of Bellevue, Kentucky, have been facing criticisms online since they first shared that their six-year-old son, Rainier, had ran the Flying Pig marathon with them

Ben and Kami Crawford, of Bellevue, Kentucky, revealed on Monday that their son, Rainier, 6, was questioned by Child Protective Services after he ran a 22.6 mile marathon on May 1

Ben and Kami Crawford, of Bellevue, Kentucky, revealed on Monday that their son, Rainier, 6, was questioned by Child Protective Services after he ran a 22.6 mile marathon on May 1

The couple slammed 'leaders in the running community' for speaking out against having their son run in the Flying Pig Marathon

The couple slammed ‘leaders in the running community’ for speaking out against having their son run in the Flying Pig Marathon

The parents of six spoke about the experience in an Instagram video on Monday

The parents of six spoke about the experience in an Instagram video on Monday

Ben and Kami, who have a total of six children and document their endeavors online, continued to explain that CPS received six ‘immediately unsubstantiated reports, but was required to investigate when someone falsely claimed that we dragged Rainier after Mile 13 and across the finish line, pulling him against his will.

‘There was no proof with this report,’ they wrote.

‘All eight family members and eyewitnesses (including police officers) and hours of video footage reveal a different story – That Rainier is a young human who was very determined to finish and was never dragged ONCE on the entire 26.2 mile course.

‘The whole experience is very scary,’ they noted, though they added: ‘The agents made it clear they’re backlogged with legitimate potential abuse cases, but now our case will be processing for up to 30 days to be cleared.

‘It’s sad that people who see our life for 30 seconds or read one fake headline, or one out of context social media post can have such an impact on our family when we work so hard to keep our home a healthy and safe place for our kids.’

The couple has also now spoken out against reports that Rainier was unsafe when he was running the 22.6 mile marathon, which he completed in about eight and a half hours with the help of his family.

‘Our six-year-old had two-plus adults offering full time monitoring of his health, mood and safety at all times during a race,’ they wrote in the FAQ, noting that ‘His mom has a bachelor’s [degree] in nursing and was a trained registered nurse.

‘With our average finishing time [of] eight-plus hours, the marathon was completed at a walking pace,’ Ben and Kami wrote. ‘We take playground breaks, walk and eat and drink whatever we want and do not emphasize speed or competition.

‘Our child was asked numerous times if he wanted to stop and he was VERY clear that his preference was to continue.

‘We constantly monitored his food, liquid, and electrolyte intake as well as monitored body temperature,’ they noted, explaining that they ‘did not see any sign of heat exhaustion or dehydration, and honored his request to keep on going.’ 

Ben had hit back at claims that they bribed Rainier to finish the marathon with a box of Pringles, instead saying that he was disappointed there was no table for Pringles at the race

Ben had hit back at claims that they bribed Rainier to finish the marathon with a box of Pringles, instead saying that he was disappointed there was no table for Pringles at the race 

Children who run marathons can damage their bones due to huge shock from hitting the ground repeatedly, experts say

Children who run marathons could damage their bones, according to scientific literature.

Medical advice on whether to allow children to run marathons is divided, although races normally block non-adults from entering.

Some studies warn children are less able to absorb the shocks from the repeat impacts on bones due to running because they are smaller.

This may leave them at greater risk of damaging their bones, a paper published in the Journal of Athletic Training in 2010 says.

Other research suggests youngsters who suffer repeated impact on their joins could separate their growth plates — areas where new bone is growing.

This has been seen in child gymnasts. Most recover, although some can be left with life-long damage to the affected bones.

Some experts caution, however, that the medical impacts of allowing children to run long distances are still largely unknown because of a lack of research.

Dr Cordelia Carter, a pediatric orthopedic sports surgeon at Yale University, previously told The Atlantic that parents should ‘use common sense’.

‘If running starts to hurt, you need to stop,’ she said.

‘But to definitively answer that question, we need to understand more about how kids physiologically respond to distance running.’

‘Yes, there were tears,’ they continued, explaining that Rainier ‘had a fall and every single member of our family has cried during marathons.

‘Those 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.’

And the couple, who have previously hiked the Appalachian Trail with their children, denied that they bribed Rainier to run the marathon with Pringles.

Ben explained in the FAQ that Rainier was ‘disappointed that the Pringles table was empty because we arrived too late.

‘We told him we would buy him some Pringles if he kept going since he was so disappointed.

‘I shared this moment on social media because it is one minor tool we use to motivate children, and I thought it was a funny story many parents can relate to,’ Ben wrote, adding: ‘It was in no way meant to be a full race report or summary [of] Rainier’s motivations for running.’

Ben and Kami have previously claimed that medical studies are inconclusive about how long distance running could harm children.

In an open letter written on Saturday, Ben and Kami wrote that ‘critics against children running long distances generally cite obscure and unnamed sources that warn about singular, and often unnamed health variables.

‘The specific health risks vary from dehydration, to hypothermia to electrolyte abnormalities,’ they wrote. ‘The biggest concern we have found revolves around children’s bond development and growth plates.’

The couple then goes on to cite a 2019 article from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which was compiled with the help of 22 medical and sports experts from four different countries.

‘In their most daunting statement, they state that running “may place the youth runner at risk for injury to the musculoskeletal structures,”‘ they say of the study. ‘The key word is “may.”

‘There is no direct link, there is no guarantee, [and] there is no weight of evidence.’ 

Rainer completed the Flying Pig Marathon with his parents, Ben and Kami Crawford. It took him more than 8.5 hours

Rainer completed the Flying Pig Marathon with his parents, Ben and Kami Crawford. It took him more than 8.5 hours

The Crawfords, a family of eight, who chronicle their adventures on a YouTube Channel, have a prominent presence on social media, finished the race as a family

The Crawfords, a family of eight, who chronicle their adventures on a YouTube Channel, have a prominent presence on social media, finished the race as a family

The Crawfords first started facing backlash after Ben first revealed his young son’s feat on his Instagram, and admitted that the boy ‘physically struggled.’

Almost immediately after submitting the post, he was met with a volley of criticism – including by former US Olympian Kara Goucher – for letting someone so young compete.

‘I don’t know who needs to hear this, but a six year old cannot fathom what a marathon will do to them physically,’ Goucher said Twitter.

‘A six year old does not understand what embracing misery is. A six year who is ‘struggling physically’ does not realize they have the right to stop and should.’ 

Goucher, a two-time Olympian who competed in the 10,000 meters in Beijing in 2008 and as a marathoner in the 2012 London Games, went on to say: ‘I’m not questioning motivation or saying it is bad parenting. But as an Olympic athlete, I promise you this is not good for the child.

‘Children are children. Let them run around, but as the parent you need to protect their growing bodies and their young minds,’ she added. 

Goucher, a two-time Olympian who competed in the 10,000 meters in Beijing in 2008 and as a marathoner in the 2012 London Games, went on to say: ‘I’m not questioning motivation or saying it is bad parenting. But as an Olympic athlete, I promise you this is not good for the child.

‘Children are children. Let them run around, but as the parent you need to protect their growing bodies and their young minds,’ she added. 

Experts told Good Morning America that Rainer’s growth plates and tissues aren’t fully developed by his young age and extreme activities – such as a marathon – could be potentially dangerous to children. 

‘If a young child were to run a marathon, I’m worried about electrolyte abnormalities, nausea, vomiting, heatstroke, all these signs and symptoms that may not be that clear in a young child,’ Dr. Alok Patel told Good Morning America. 

The parents and race organizers, who said they were aware of the child participating, received swift backlash online after the race

The parents and race organizers, who said they were aware of the child participating, received swift backlash online after the race

US Olympian Kara Goucher slammed the parents, saying that 'a six year [old] who is 'struggling physically' does not realize they have the right to stop and should...I promise you this is not good for a child'

US Olympian Kara Goucher slammed the parents, saying that ‘a six year [old] who is ‘struggling physically’ does not realize they have the right to stop and should…I promise you this is not good for a child’ 

 Race officials  have also received a lot of slack for allowing such a young boy to run such a grueling race

But CEO of Pig Works, the race’s parent company, Iris Simpson Bush, said they had the intention of trying to ‘offer protection and support if they were on our course.’

She said: ‘Our decision was intended for some amount of safety and protection for the child. The family finished the race after the formal closure of the course.’

She also revealed the family had entered the race a ‘bandits’ – participating without officially being registered – in years prior ‘before we had any knowledge of it and we knew he was likely to do so again.’

Bush also said the race will only allow those 18 years and older to enter the race going forward, as was the policy beforehand. She also said she accepted ‘full responsibility for the decision’ and accepted that it was ‘not the best course of action.’

Crawford family responds to backlash after Flying Pig Marathon

On May 1, our family of 8 finished an entire 26.2 mile marathon. This is the first marathon our entire family has run together. Our 5 older kids waited for over an hour at mile 25 and after 8 hours and 35 minutes we all crossed the finish line together. After 2 days celebrating with friends, how we spent our day has got a lot of attention from some who are accusing us of being irresponsible and even abusive. To that end I’d like to lay out a few facts for the public conversation.

1. We have never forced any of our children to run a marathon and we cannot even imagine that as feasible practically or emotionally. We have given all of our kids the option for every race. Last year two kids ran it without us. In 9 years we have been awarded a total of 53 medals – mostly to the kids. This year after begging to join us we allowed our 6 year old to train and attempt it. Both parents gave him a 50/50 chance of completing it and were ready to pull the plug at any moment if he requested it or if we viewed his safety at risk. We asked him numerous times if he wanted to stop and he was VERY clear that his preference was to continue. We did not see any sign of heat exhaustion or dehydration and honored his request to keep on going.

2. 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. Many people are inaccurately reporting that people saw him for the ‘entire’ or ‘majority’ of the race crying and that there are numerous witnesses. 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. Those making these confident and absolute assertions do not have any evidence. We have hours of video footage and images that will be released that depict his emotional state very clearly.

3. For those that claim we force our kids to run for the clicks or the money, these claims are unsubstantiated. We’ve been running before the clicks and our videos make on average $10-$30 a day. It barely pays for the equipment. We go to great lengths to prioritize our kids’ health and experience of the day over sharing it to anyone else. Communicating these stories is a passion project that we do with our children’s cooperation and permission.

4. Finally, no single post is meant to capture the full scope of our parenting methods or what happened on marathon day. They capture one moment or feeling. 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. We have hundreds of hours of video that detail the process we use for running and it’s about as far from coercion or force as it comes. Yes, negotiation and incentivization are parenting methods we use but these are used sparingly with care.

Our parenting methods are unconventional but we do not think accusations or arguments with incorrect facts are helpful.

We’re thankful to those who supported us on race day. It was an incredible experience and we can’t wait to share more.

Ben & Kami

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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