The parents of a 6-year-old marathon runner in Ohio defended themselves on Sunday, claiming their son wanted to run in the race and chose to run the whole way.
Child Protective Services visited the Crawford family on Friday after they were accused of pulling their youngest son, Rainier, "against his will" halfway through the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. The family asked people to look at the evidence and discuss "the pros and cons of running with children."
"Calling a government agency to have children taken away from someone because you don’t like them or something doesn’t 'feel right' or because you can not conceive of a 6 year old that enjoys running, is morally reprehensible and a gross misuse of our governmental systems put in place to protect our children," the Crawfords wrote on social media.
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The Crawfords' six children have been experiencing "emotional breakdowns" in the wake of the criticism, which they blame on "a mob that has been weaponized by running's most accomplished and celebrated individuals." Olympians have used "their large platforms to broadcast absolute moral imperatives without nuance" over their youngest son running the marathon and have asked them to take responsibility for the issue, warning that "witch hunts will be created," the family said.
The family explained they run marathons together for their health and enjoyment in an open letter published on Saturday. Rainier was also not bribed with food toward the end of the marathon to continue running, according to a frequently asked questions page posted by the family.
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Participants in the Flying Pig Marathon need to be at least 18 years old, according to the marathon's website.
Representatives of Flying Pig Marathon have not responded to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.