As I was reading through Runner’s World (January 2012) I came across the “Ask Miles” section and there was a question that kind of stuck out to me, especially being a high school teacher.
“I’m in high school and want to run my first marathon. My parents aren’t sure it’s safe. How can I convince them?
Miles replied: “You can’t. To you parents you’re still a kid. Frustrating, I know, but those protective instincts die hard. This is why Mile’s own mother insists he wear a scarf when it’s chilly out. There’s still hope. Enlist your coach, doctor, or anyone whose opinion your parents respect. With them in your corner, Mom and Dad just might come around. This all assumes, of course, that you are capable of training for a marathon. Be aware that the coach, doc, et all, may find that you really should wait for a few years before tackling 26.2”
After reading this question, I looked around at my students the next day and they looked so so young to me and I don’t think that their bodies are quite ready to be put under that much stress. I guess there are always exceptions and kids that mature much faster than their peers but to me, it just seems too young. This may also be because I never had the desire to run more than 5 miles at a time in high school.
A random picture from high school. If you can’t tell, I was an injured cat for Halloween but my teacher made me take off the cone thing that I had around my neck so that I couldn’t lick my ‘wounds.’ See, I have always been really weird.
Feel free to disagree with me because I really do want to know your opinion on what age you think is too young to run a marathon.
-Part of me thinks that if the doctors/coaches etc think that the teen is healthy enough to run a marathon, why not? That is a huge goal and accomplishment and obviously I believe that running is the greatest thing in the world but the other (bigger) part of me thinks that a half-marathon is a much better idea and much safer for high-school kids. Even a better idea may be for them to focus in on the 10k and get really speedy in that because we all know that the really accomplished 10kers make the best marathoners.
Were you active in high school?
-I played tennis and ran at night with my sis or friends a few times a week. I also did cheerleading one year and went to the rec center for early morning step aerobics classes for a few months.
PS random fact: According to Wikipedia (because we all know that is a 100% accurate source) the youngest boy to run a marathon (or more) was Budhia Singh. As a four year old he ran 42 miles in 7 hours and two minutes. 6 days after Budhia ran that distance the Indian government forced him to stop running until he turned 11 years old.