Viewers Voice: Mom fighting back against race rule getting support from viewers

CREATED Feb. 24, 2014

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Emotions are running high after Fox 4 first told you about a Southwest Florida mom who hit a roadblock in one of the area's most popular road races. 
  
Charyse Smith pounds the pavement training for local 5k's and always brings along her 7 year-old daughter, Kayla, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
 
"I love running. Kayla is never going to be able to do that so I want her to be able to experience it with me as much as she can and she loves it," said Charyse.
 
Charsyse and Kayla are able to run the race but winning the upcoming Hooters Half Marathon won't be in reach because race rules only allow runners pushing strollers to race in a non-competitive way.
 
"Our general policy is that we don't encourage people to run with joggers or strollers because of insurance liability issues, so rather than prohibiting them all together we ask that you start at the back of the pack," said Kim Bocelli, VP of the Fort Myers Track Club.
 
Charyse is getting support from viewers. Krista posted to Facebook, "They deserve to be a part of the marathon just like anyone else!!!!!!"
 
Another viewer called in cheering the duo on and said, "Yes, they should let her run from the beginning of the race all the way to the end without a doubt. It's ridiculous they would try to hold her back. That's a dedicated mom, a dedicated runner."
     
But some see the safety issue at hand. Steve thought, "I feel like whatever the rules were when she signed up is what she has to abide by. No questions asked."
 
Lori wrote, "I would say go ahead and run for the good cause of the charity and because her daughter enjoys it. She would certainly be a winner in my eyes."
 

Race organizers say another option is to let Charyse start before the race but they would not be eligible for the same awards as other runners. Charyse said she has decided not to run in the race.