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CINCINNATI, Ohio — Organizers of the Flying Pig Marathon are being put on the defensive after a 6-year-old boy from Kentucky ran the full 26.2-mile race last weekend, leading to safety concerns, reports say.

The boy ran the race with seven other family members, including his parents and five siblings, ages 11, 15, 17, 19 and 20, WXIX Channel 19 reports. It took the family just over 8½ hours to complete the race, reports say. The course officially closes after eight hours.

The full marathon has a minimum age requirement of 18.

According to WCPO Channel 9, Flying Pig officials released a statement saying they were aware the family intended to run whether or not they were officially registered.

“For the safety of their family, we felt it was important that they were officially registered so they would receive on course support as needed,” the statement to WCPO says.

But the news of a 6-year-old running a full marathon has drawing sharp criticism from other runners and health experts who believe that it’s too strenuous for someone so young.

“I’m ok with young kids running 5Ks,” Cincinnati Running Club member David Nelson tells WXIX. “I see that occasionally. And a lot of these races have these kids runs. That’s OK too. But I just think a 6-year-old, even if you’re a kid prodigy, that’s too much.”

Pediatrician Dr. Christopher Bollings also tells WCPO that a 6-year-old running a marathon is “unusual” and is not recommended.

According to WCPO, the child’s father wrote on Instagram that he asked his son numerous times if he wanted to stop but says his son said he wanted to keep going. He says he would not put his son’s safety at risk.

“We have never forced any of our children to run a marathon and we cannot even imagine that as feasible practically or emotionally,” he writes.

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