Monday, June 11, 2007

The 8-year old Marathoner - How Young Is Too Young?

I've seen lots of teenagers in the marathon ranks, and a few in ultras as well (such as CA's 15 yr old Michael Kanning). But here is one I thought I would never see - Zhang Huimin, an 8-year-old, 42 lb girl from China with a marathon training schedule that would cripple most adults. The locals love her, but as the article says, "she personifies a darker side of today's China: a culture of relentless competition amplified by a media hungry for celebrities."

If you even hear of me training Sophie like this, just shoot me. You can read the full story here.

- SD


  1. Ah, that makes me sad. I have a seven year old daughter and kids just need time to play. :>(

  2. Yikes. I'm not sure how young is too young but this is DEFINITELY too young to train those kind of miles with that intensity. Miki and I were just talking about this in relation to ultras over the weekend in that's it's probably not really good to run 50+ miles until you are at least 18. That stress on a still developing body can't be a good thing!

  3. Sophie's blog- I LOVE it- glad I know abou tit now- thanks!
    Don't worry, I would shoot you if she was running like that!
    I have been running for 40+ years, but NOT high intensity miles like that- when I was a kid it was just fun; race- you-to-the fence kind of runs. And in high school, there wasn't even a girl's cross country team- had to run with the guys in Morgan Hill!

  4. I feel really bad for the kid. I'm sure she enjoys running but she is incapable of knowing how this will hurt her down the road. And I don't think the dad fully understands either, or he might just be that hungry for fame and money. She's losing out on her childhood. But I suppose there is some comparison to if she would have to farm all day to help her father.

  5. That was a pretty horrible story on the kid. Amazing or not, her well been is at serious risk. Trust me, lots of people will shoot you now by your own invitation - and oh, my, what a cutie pie Sophie is! Just adorable, and I am not often one who spills out those names for babies. She is a star! I think it comes with the fact that Dad takes pictures often:) may be you need to apply for photoshoots.

  6. Scott -

    Your daughter's blog is great! A chip off the old blog, so 2 speak. And I suspect that's Cristy's handiwork at the camera, which is wonderful. A clever way to leak it...


  7. What WILL she give him for father's day...a negative split?

  8. Wow, Zhang Huimin is an amazing kid, but ditto what has been said. You're only a kid once, and playing and socializing at that young, simple level is important for development. School is structured. It doesn't count as "simple" interaction with playmates.
    I don't think this speaks against China - not all of China agrees with this either. This is Zhang Huimin's and her father's idea. And neither may know the damage.

    Still, I can think of worse ways to grow up. I won't call it horrible yet. It just seems wrong.


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