The stage is set for the 2012 edition of the ‘Crawlers Competition,’ a heartwarming event that has become a beloved tradition in Novosibirsk, Siberia. This unique contest features babies under the age of nine months, competing in a spirited dash to cover a seven-meter distance within a swift two-minute timeframe, all while navigating a whimsical nappy obstacle course.
In the spirit of fairness, organizers diligently verify birth certificates to ensure that none of the participants exceed the allowable age limit. What’s remarkable is the earnestness with which parents approach this event, often wearing more intense expressions than the adorable little competitors themselves.
The ‘Crawlers Competition’ is a delightful segment of the annual Siberian Running Festival, also known as the Novosibirsk Marathon. This festival seeks to promote a healthy lifestyle among people of all ages, welcoming participants from seasoned athletes to spirited individuals in their seventies, and, of course, the youngest contenders – the crawlers.
The nappy marathon unfolds within a cozy tent, sheltering participants from the unpredictable weather conditions typical of Siberia in September, including rain, gusty winds, and other potential challenges. The crawling track is thoughtfully padded with soft mats, offering a safe and comfortable surface for these budding athletes.
In the 2011 edition, the reigning champion was Nikita Zhulin, who outperformed all other competitors. Nikita’s mother, Tatiana Zhulina, reminisced about their journey, saying, “Our daily routine consisted of meals, playtime, walks, and naps. And then, we heard about this unique marathon, where even the tiniest tots could participate! It was a no-brainer for us to join in!”
The ‘Crawlers Competition’ is a heartwarming spectacle, with parents employing various tactics to motivate their little ones, including toys, cameras, laptops, and smartphones. In the last edition, Nikita, at just nine months old, emerged as the fastest crawler, completing the distance in an astonishing 15 seconds.
Spectator Sergei shared his experience, saying, “I wasn’t sure what to expect initially, but I was completely captivated by the event. It was impossible not to smile while watching so many babies simultaneously participating in the crawl. Next time, I hope my little one can be a part of it.”
Marathon director Yevgeniy Gusev underlined their inclusive approach, saying, “We gladly welcome young participants from abroad as well. We will ensure ideal conditions, even in unpredictable weather. Our goal is to instill a love for running from a very early age, and who knows, we might be nurturing our future Olympic champions right from their diaper days.”
One thing’s for certain, in this competition, there’s no need for doping tests – just the pure power of babies and a chorus of proud parents cheering on their tiny champions.