Race against outrage: How a 6-year-old's marathon participation has polarized a community

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Marathon running is grueling, even for the most experienced of athletes, most of whom are fully developed adults committed to months of training to endure 26.2 miles. 

So it’s no surprise that the story of 6-year-old Rainier Crawford running the Flying Pig Marathon with his family in Cincinnati in May drew national attention and intense scrutiny on social media.

How did a first-grader race alongside an estimated 20,000 runners who lined up to race on that sunny Sunday morning?

The answer depends on perspective and whom you ask. Blatant defiance of the rules, negligence and compliance among race officials were some of the reasons offered for Rainier’s participation. Regardless of your opinion on whether a child so young should be allowed to race, there is no definitive piece of research that experts rely on to set guidelines for marathon running.

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