Thursday, November 15, 2012

From NYT: Young Endurance Runners Draw Cheers and Concerns

The New York Times has a very interesting piece about two endurance runners - ages 10 and 12 -- who compete in multiple (challenging) events per year.

From afar, they looked like twin pixies, Tinker Bell One and Tinker Bell Two, though the   sisters were actually two years apart. Kaytlynn, 12, and Heather, 10, had long blond hair tied back with elastic, and the younger girl had a tiny stuffed animal — a raccoon — pinned to the front of her sports bra. Each of them weighed about 60 pounds. Their thighs were not much bigger than saucers, and the full loop of their hips was only 21 inches.
These children sweetened the scene with a dollop of cuteness, but curious onlookers were unsure whether to be intrigued or appalled. The trail’s ascent was an exhausting slog, and the precarious downhill required careful balance as swift feet inevitably slid on the loose and stony ground. The dry, thin air could suck the strength out of even the fittest runners.
Were these girls really capable of competing with elite athletes? And even if they were, was it a good idea for children this young to be in a race this tough?   -- From Too Fast, Too Soon

This...this seems a bit much for two girls so young.  Multiple endurance events on the weekends, without a hint that there are rest periods?  Bodies need time to recover.  Hearing your dad say "You quit on us today"? Seriously?  They're 10 and 12 and they're competing in trail marathons that challenge people who have been running longer than those girls are old.  The girls seem to enjoy what they're doing, which is great.  But, I can't imagine the toll that this is going to have on their still developing minds and bodies.

No comments:

Post a Comment