Anonymous asked in SportsRunning · 2 months ago

Is it a safe idea for a 17 year old girl to run a marathon?

I was just going to attempt it for fun, but realizing I'd be running for 4+ hours, would this be safe? 

The longest I've done is a half marathon in 1:50. 

Should I wait a couple of years before attempting a marathon? I was just planning on running through a couple towns. 


Thanks.. I did mean safe, more as like : would my body be able to handle it, but that's a good point, too.

3 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    Yes, it's safe. 

    Check some results of large marathons. I'll bet you find teen boys and teen girls among the finishers. 

    Some 30 years ago, physiologists were concerned about young athletes running a marathon. They thought it would damage parts of the leg bones that had not yet completely ossified. But, studies since then have discounted that. It is now accepted that teens can run marathons.

    The two main hazards from running marathons comes from training for it in too short a time, or not doing enough training.

    Several marathon training programs go from zero miles to 26.2 miles in 1/2 year, but I prefer programs that train for that over 9 months to a year. 

    I believe the longer training programs are safer. But, considering you are already a runner, if you follow a published training program, you could start it in the middle, at a place that corresponds with your current running.

    Another hazard is the training distances and the marathon itself will act as a mistake magnifier. Pay attention to aches and pains, try to find out what might be causing them, and make adjustments.

    Comment: You might like Jeff Galloway's program in which you alternate running and walking. 

    Update: Many people believe it is unreasonable for a young child to run a marathon. Because of that, many marathons do set a minimum age. Also, if a participant is not yet a legal adult, and the participant is not barred from being too young, a parent or guardian may have to sign the wavier. 

  • .
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    It's not unsafe based on age. Younger people than that have completed marathons. The 'safety' factor is more about whether or not that person has properly trained for it. Running a marathon is a LOT more physically and mentally grueling than running a Half. 


    If you train properly and fuel properly for your long runs, and the 26.2 miles itself, it should be fine. The article below talks about what is a safe age for a young person to run a marathon. You may want to read through it and see what the potential issues might be. These are what the article lists as things of potential concern, regarding minors and marathons/long distance runs:

    "The potential for overuse injuries, particularly on a body that's not done growing.

    The psychological stress associated with such a grueling distance.

    There are risks of nutrition-related problems like eating disorders and calorie deficiencies.

    Heat stress and its effect on minors compared to adults."

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    If you're running by yourself, I'd say no. 

    If you run with someone else, or in a group, and during the day, that would be safer. 

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.