Question: What do you feel about children running long-distance?
Sri Chinmoy: It is my inner feeling, my spiritual, yogic feeling, that it is not at all good for children to run long-distance; it is not good for their growth. An Indian child should not run more than one mile if he is under thirteen years of age. But for Americans, I would put the age at ten years. Children under ten should not run more than a mile. If they want to run three miles, they should be at least thirteen years of age.
These children will live on earth for many years. Right now let them do sprinting. Let them do 50, 60 or 200 metres; let them do 400 metres or 800 metres maximum. But children's lung capacity and heart condition may not be strong enough for long-distance running — especially children who are in their formative years. Perhaps doctors will say that long distance running is good for children, but I feel it may lead to some serious problems and is very dangerous.
I really feel very sad that parents are not wise in this matter. They are really doing an injustice to their children. A seed germinates, and then it becomes a plant. If you speed up its growth unnaturally, it may grow a little taller. But if you raise it too high, there will be no roots there. It won't be able to grow into a normal, natural tree. Before it grows into a tree, it will die.