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Welsch sisters are controversial pre-teen distance running sensations

Two young girls from Alvin, Tex., are drawing national attention because of their success in the adult-dominated field of endurance running. They — and more specifically their parents — are also receiving criticism for participating in such challenging events at such a young age.

The Welsch sisters, 12-year-old Kaytlynn (pictured left) and 10-year-old Heather (pictured right), were the subject of an outstanding feature in The New York Times over the weekend.

The young girls have run in more than 75 endurance events where many times the distances were meant to challenge adults. Kaytlynn, the older daughter, has run in two marathons and about 90 endurance events. Her sister has competed in about a dozen fewer events. Both have participated in triathlons.

The Welsches’ parents are into the outdoors and got their daughters involved in various sports when they were younger. Kaytlynn says her small size (the girls weigh about 60 pounds) worked against her in other sports, but she realized she excelled in running after competing in her first triathlon.

The sisters first began competing in distance events after their father entered them in a competition in 2010. It didn’t take long before they were beating everyone their age and even older competition. It also didn’t take long for critics to question the parents.

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