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Are There Age Requirements to Run a Marathon?

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Updated May 01, 2013

Question: Are There Age Requirements to Run a Marathon?
I'm a 15-year-old runner, and I really want to run a marathon. Do you have to be a certain age to run a marathon?
-About.com User
Answer: Most marathons have age requirements, and the minimum age is usually 16 or 18 years old. Marathons that have a lower age minimum do exist (I saw kids younger than 10 running the Honolulu marathon), but I recommend waiting a few years before you participate. Although I'm not aware of any scientific studies about the health implications of running a marathon at a young age, most experts would recommend at least waiting until kids get through puberty. A lot of doctors recommend avoiding extreme distance running for kids and young teens because the repetitive trauma may cause damage to bones that are still growing.

Training for a marathon is extremely time-consuming, exhausting, and tough physically and mentally. At such a young age, it's bound to have a big effect on other priorities in your life, such as school.

Have you done races at other distances? I would suggest doing some 5Ks or 10Ks before you take on a marathon. Completing one of those distance would be an incredible accomplishment, especially for a 15-year-old, and doing so will definitely prepare you for a future marathon. Plus, you'll have something to look forward to in the future.

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