by Ian McMahan
But as the rate of childhood obesity continues to rise and the general aerobic fitness of children and adolescents continues to fall,
another trend has emerged: Many of the children that still play sports
often do so in excess. While a great deal of attention has been devoted
to the demanding year-round format of competitive youth baseball and
soccer, an increasing number of young athletes are also training for
and competing in long-distance endurance events. These young athletes
are doing more than kids’ “fun runs” and 5K’s—they’re running marathons and Olympic-distance triathlons.
Notably, the Students Run Los Angeles marathon-training program had
more than 16,000 young marathon finishers between 1987 and 2005.