There are a couple of things I am pretty sure I will never do in my life.
- Run a sub 3:00 marathon
- Have a baby
I am pretty confident the baby thing will never happen, unless Arnold Schwarzenegger was on to something in Junior. I know I will never run a sub 3:00 marathon. I have tried and my best was only a 3:24. So my mind is always blown away by a mom who can run a marathon after having a baby.
So lets introduce our 8 Elite Marathon Moms. To be completely honest, I have included a few triathletes in our list, but to be fair these moms not only run a marathon, but also swim 2 miles and bike 100 miles before the marathon, so I felt they more than qualified.
- Paula Radcliffe
- Kara Goucher
- Deena Kastor
- Jessica Jacobs
- Emma Gerrard
- Sara Gross
- Heather Gollnick
- Michelle Andres
2 Children, 2:15:38 Womens Marathon World Record Holder
Not only is Paula a mother of two children, but she holds the current world record in the marathon, is a 3 time London Marathon winner, 3 time New York Marathon winner (the year she had her baby, and the year after), and a one time Chicago Marathon winner. She has also won countless awards and accolades for her running accomplishments.
Oh, and did I mention that she has asthma? Oh, and anemia.
Paula is truly an inspiration to mom and athletes everywhere. On training while pregnant Paula has said“The minute you find out you are pregnant, your priorities change, and of course I slowed down. I ran for health and pleasure, not for competitive reasons”. Of course just 12 days after having her baby she was back out training, but later admitted that 3 weeks may have been better.
She won the 2007 New York Marathon just 10 months after having her baby.
Never set limits, go after your dreams, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. And laugh a lot – it’s good for you!
1 child, 2008, 2012 Olympics, 3 Time NCAA Champion
Kara burst onto the marathon scene in 2008 by finishing 3rd at the Boston Marathon. She gave birth to her son in 2010, in 2011 she placed 5th at the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:24:52 a PR by more than a minute and beating her 2009 (pre baby) Boston time by 7 1/2 minutes. Shortly after that she was on her way to the 2012 London Olympics.
She has won many other races and events since having a child and has proven her strength as a runner in recent years.
Acknowledge all of your small victories. They will eventually add up to something great.
1 chlid, US Record holder in Marathon, Half-Marathon, 15k, 8k, 5k
Deena gave birth to her first child in February 2011, eleven months later she ran a 2:30:40 marathon to place 6th at the age of 39. Since then she has gone on to place 3rd at the LA Marathon and 9th at the world championships at the age of 40.
Deena is truly an athlete that takes excuses away from the regular folk like you and I. Despite being a mother and “over the hill” she continues to compete on the world stage as an elite marathoner. In 2006 she was named the top womens marathoner in the world.
When you have the enthusiasm and the passion, you end up figuring how to excel.
1 child, 2012 Kona IronMan World Championships 26th place (11:38:39)
Jessica began racing triathlons in 2011 and quickly became hooked on the sport. Despite a frustrating first race she returned for more races and qualified for the 2012 IronMan World Championships where she placed 26. In 2013 she completed 5 Half IronMan races (70.3) and 2 Full IronMan races never placing below 14th. Her IronMan PR is a stellar 8:55:10, good enough for a 1st place finish at the 2011 Florida IronMan. . . All this while raising a daughter!
1 child, Multiple top finished in XTERRA Championships and Winter Triathlon Championships
Emma is a serious competitor and a very busy woman. On top of training for XTERRA and Winter Triathlon races, she is a mom, a photographer, and she coaches various athletic programs. In 2011 alone, she ran 11 organized races. Most recently she placed 2nd in the 2014 XTERRA West Championships just weeks after being bedridden with sickness. This was her best finish in a pro race. . . EVER. All this just months after having a baby.
She keeps a very fun and inspring blog at EMMAGARRARD.com outlining her workouts, family time, and races. If you ever wanted to get an inside look at racing and training with kids, this is probably the best blog to read from a professional athlete.
Smart preparation in not-ideal circumstances can only get you far, good results also require consistent specific training.
2 Chlidren, Professional Triathlete
In 2013 Sara completed 11 triathlon races, completing the Zurich Ironman in 9:55 and placing in the top 3 in 6 of those races. Yes, that is with two children. In 2011 she finished 2nd in the Calgary 70.3 just 7 months after having a baby. Oh, did I mention she also hold a PhD from the University of Edinburgh.
When I get home from training I quickly shift from athlete-mode to mom-mode . . .
I think that all women should get in the habit of taking care of themselves for at least an hour or two a day.
As for working out while pregnant, Sara says that she averaged 1-1.5 hours of exercise a day. Running until week 32, biking until week 37, and swimming up until the day before her baby was born.
Sara confesses that her training has changed since having children. She no longer is able to plan her training as much as before and must work around her babies schedules. To follow Sara online visit her website at www.saragross.ca.
3 Children, 5X Ironman Champion
Heather is 44 years old a mother of three children and has over 100 podium finishes as a professional triathlete. In fact if you check out her website at HeatherGollnick.com you will see that those top finishes just keep rolling in at nearly every race she enters.
We had a third child and ever since it has been complete madness with my husband and I being out numbered. Training is not the number one thing but I can still get out there and mix it up and love it!
Also remember training will always be there, your little ones get so big so fast.
Heather states that she has no intention of slowing down any time soon and loves the thrill of racing and competing on a professional level. She is the author of Triathlon EQ which states that endurance sports are as much a test of emotional endurance as physical stamina.
To top it all off, Heather also provides triathlon coaching and is a public speaker. Find out more about her coaching here.
5 children, full time teacher, 3rd Age Group Finisher Kona Ironman Championships
Michelle is an example of a “regular” mom who set her mind on a goal and made it happen. She has a full time job as a teacher, she is the mother of 5 children, yet she still finds time to train and compete on a very high level. She is 36 years old and holds the Minnesota state record for the Ironman Triathlon. Her Ironman time at Kona was 9:50 which was good enough to earn her the #3 spot in her age group. She did all of this with no coach and most of her training was done in her basement on a stationary bike and treadmill.
If its important to you, you’ll find a way, if its not important, you’ll find an excuse. We all have more time in our day than what we think, we just waste a lot of time on things that are not important.
She now has her sites set on qualifying for the Olympic trials in the marathon.
Are You a Marathon Mom?
While all of these women have amazing stories to share and have all accomplished a lot professionally in terms of running, they all say the same thing: running after having a baby is not easy, but with planning and determination it is doable.
You may not be trying to win a triathlon or qualify for the Olympic trials, but you can reach your goals with running and weight loss. You can accomplish what you set your mind to.