The Kentucky couple who came under fire for allowing their 6-year-old son to run in the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati have revealed that they were visited by Child Protective Services.
Ben and Kami Crawford, of Bellevue, shared a photo on Instagram of an official interviewing Rainier, “who adamantly decided that he wanted to run a marathon.”
In the caption, they wrote that Child Protective Services arrived at their home unannounced on Friday “and interviewed our children because leaders in the community are calling running with children wrong.”
The added: “This needs to stop.”
“Our children are having emotional breakdowns, NOT from running, but from a mob that has been weaponized by runnings most accomplished and celebrated individuals,” they wrote.
“They are stating that children running is abusive and not providing any data or facts. The reports and stance are false. Hundreds of witnesses including police officers and hours of video footage corroborate,” the couple continued.
“When will you apologize and retract?” they added.
District Attorney Steve Franzen of Campbell County, Kentucky, confirmed to “Good Morning America” that child services had visited the Crawfords, but said no determination had been made yet in the probe.
The Crawfords addressed the backlash in an Instagram video posted Saturday.
“The real stuff that we got accused of was dragging Rainier, like physically dragging him on the marathon course after mile 13 and across the finish line,” Ben said.
“If you guys have seen our finish line picture, we all held hands for like the last probably, like, .2, .3 miles. We talked about it ahead of time, like that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
“I don’t know if I should be angry. I like to believe that people are doing the best that they can. They’re not trying to ruin our life or, you know, they probably are legit afraid for our kids. But also, it’s like, where’s the line?” Ben continued.
Kami said: “I feel like we’re doing what we feel passionate about It would be kind of tragic to stop all that.”
The Crawfords previously addressed the criticism they received after the 26.2-mile race, noting they’ve been accused of “being irresponsible and even abusive” after allowing Rainier to compete.
“On May 1 our family of 8 finished an entire 26.2 mile marathon,” they wrote on May 3. “This is the first marathon our entire family has run together. Our 5 older kids waited for over an hour at mile 25 and after 8 hours and 35 minutes we all crossed the finish line together.”
They continued: “We have never forced any of our children to run a marathon and we cannot even imagine that as feasible practically or emotionally. We have given all of our kids the option for every race.
“Last year two kids ran it without us… This year after begging to join us we allowed our 6 year old to train and attempt it. Both parents gave him a 50/50 chance of completing it and were ready to pull the plug at any moment if he requested it or if we viewed his safety at risk,” they continued.
The Crawfords said they had asked Rainier “numerous times if he wanted to stop and he was VERY clear that his preference was to continue.”
In an Instagram Story, a user stated that “Campbell County CPS” had been notified, to which the Crawfords replied, “CPS has investigated us for doing much crazier things and deemed us safe parents for our kids.”
The parents faced additonal backlash after they posted an Instagram photo of their son holding stacks of Pringles chips, sharing that the boy was “struggling physically” during the marathon.
Olympic marathoner Lee Troop slammed the parents and race organizers for allowing Rainier to compete in a marathon.
“Child stopping every 3mins after 20 miles, crying and emotionally distressed. Parents bribing him to finish & he’ll get Pringles. Parents seeing no issue in allowing this to happen. Everything about this is wrong!” he said in a tweet.