I knew this day would come and I’m glad it did – but, not without some reservation.
If you spectate enough races and hang around at enough finish lines, you can’t help but be inspired - unless you’re this guy and you just want to kill runners, probably because you are jealous.
Three years ago I decided running was cool. Then I decided I really liked triathlons. Ken decided the same thing. This has meant that we have dragged our kids to countless finish lines since January 2009.
Consequently, our kids have mastered the race expo and know how to score the best free stuff. They have gotten very good at cowbell ringing and have added “Looking good! Looking strong” and “Keep it up!” to their cheering repertoires (I long ago told them to NOT yell “You’re almost there” at mile 23 of a marathon). They have come to understand the value of layering clothes when going to watch a race. They are skilled at not looking down when they go into porta potties and know to always bring a change of shorts for mom at the end of a race.
The kids at mile 20 of the Boston Marathon 2011
Now, they want to race themselves and to be part of the action.
Both of our kids have done a few 5Ks and 10Ks. Pretty standard stuff for their ages (14 & 10). But now, my son Sam,14, is enthralled with the Rock ‘n Roll series and wants to do is first half marathon.
Sam and Ken running the 2010 10K Turkey Trot
I am torn.
I want to support him in all things running and I love his enthusiasm for the sport. He has done at least eight 10Ks, his best time being 54 minutes. He runs with his middle school cross country team. Yet, I wonder if the training and running of the 13.1 mile distance is too much for a 14 year old. Will this stunt his growth and keep him from getting hair in all the right places? Will he damage some growth plate and chafe his little nipples? What will become of him?
In regards to running FULL marathons, www.running.about.com says this: “A lot of doctors recommend avoiding extreme distance running for kids and young teens because the repetitive trauma may cause damage to bones that are still growing.”
In looking at the Denver Rock ‘n Roll Half results from last weekend, there were a total of 25 12-14 year olds who completed the race (9 girls, 16 boys). The youngest age allowed is 12. Most marathons require that an individual be at least 18 before he/she can participate. In the U.K., you have to be at least 17 to do a half marathon race.
I know Sam has his whole life to run races. There is no rush. I also know that with the proper training he could complete a half marathon and he and I would have a great time experiencing this together. More than likely, we will wait a few years, but who knows? A compromise might be to agree we would walk/run a race rather than run the whole thing.
What do you think the youngest age is a person should run a half marathon? How about a full?
At what age did you do your first half or full marathon? I was 41 when I did my first full. Three months later, I did my first half (yes, I do things backwards).
PS: The winner of the “Day in the Life” contest was Allison from the (Mis)Adventures of the Johnson Jocks. I loved how she incorporated butts and penises into her day. She also teaches a community school class and had them do a “Day in the Life” based on mine. Check out the picture of SUAR on the overhead!
Thank you, thank you to all of you who entered. I read each and every one of your Day in the Life posts. I feel like I know people better when I read about how they spend the little moments of their days!!