October 6, 2006

"She had previously run for 12 hours non-stop but was unused to running on roads."

Said Dominque Lakra, the coach of the 10-year-old Anastasia Barla, who ran 72 kilometers (45 miles) before stopping out of exhaustion. But the 5-minute break she'd taken after 58 kilometers had invalidated her attempt to beat Budhia Singh, the 4-year-old boy who ran 65 kilometers without a break. "The girl is comfortable on soil, which is soft," the not-so-soft-hearted coach explained. Anastasia is going to give it another try when the weather cools off, in India, where there is a truly crazy craze for long-distance running by children.

14 comments:

Jim H said...

A bizarre and dangerous thing to encourage children to do, but it is worse than letting them sit in front of entertainment centers for hours?

AJ Lynch said...

Just think-if she tried that in America, they would lock up the coach for child abuse.

George said...

What about the 'truly crazy craze for long-distance running' by adults in America?

Marathon running by non-athletes over the age of, say, 25, is the modern secular equivalent of crawling backwards on one's knees to Jerusalem while wearing a hairshirt.

If you run more than 10-15 miles in one session, the health risks outweigh the benefits. And running over 18-20 miles, as anyone who's done it will tell you, is torture, like having a maniac pound your feet with ball-peen hammers.

Mmm...so healthy, such fun!

Ann Althouse said...

AJ: Rightly so, and that's why we don't see that level of abuse here. Children aren't supposed to run more than 15 miles a week. And the dangers include renal failure.

37921 said...

George, I hadn't thought about it like that, but you're right. In the old days if someone survived a horrible disease or an accident they might make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Now they run a marathon.

tcd said...

It's really the crazy craze for setting Guinness world records.

Dave said...

Renal failure from running? Interesting.

Where does the limit of 15 miles per week come from? And what are children? I rand more than 15 miles a week for a while when I was a teenager and suffered no ill effects.

These days I don't know if "teenager" is a "child" or not. Depends on the context: if you run, probably not, but if you run messages on Capitol Hill, then yes, you are still a "child."

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: From the linked article: "Marathon experts maintain that children under 10 should not run more than 15 miles a week. The minimum age for competing in international marathons — a distance of 26.2 miles (42km) — is 18."

Dave said...

Ahh.

I suppose I should have clicked through the link. Thanks.

Sanjay said...

I can't believe those numbers would be so freakishly amazing if you put pedometers on the average toddler. It's just a lack of data.

Ann Althouse said...

Sanjay: Interesting point, but keep in mind that a toddler is running around doing exactly what motivates him in the present. What's especially disturbing about these child runners is that they're maintaining a fixation on a distant goal, for reasons that an adult has put into their heads. Even if it we're physical abuse, it would be psychological abuse.

tcd: I doubt if Guinness accepts record-setting by children.

tiggeril said...

And if you watch Indian TV you'll see that the famewhore bug isn't a Western one. Lots of singing/talent competitions for the kids.

Sanjay said...

Professor Althouse, I think you have a solid point with the physical abuse -- but not the psychological (at least for the four year old -- the ten year old, not so sure). My three-year-old will run like hell for quite literally hours on end because, I suppose ultimately,of some goofy idea I have put in her head ("pretend to be a flying pteranodon" or the like). I cnan't believe that four-year-old's concept of what was going on much matches ours, nor that he wasn't, in his own way, digging it.

knoxgirl said...

the 4-year-old boy who ran 65 kilometers without a break

Just imagine Mark Foley's behind you... you can do anything!