During the most recent U.S.A. Track and Field Outdoor championship event, Olympic runner Alysia Montano didn’t come in first or second. In fact she placed last in her heat, but that doesn’t matter because she accomplished something that very few people have attempted.
She competed in the event while five months pregnant.
“This isn’t to pressure women to run during pregnancy. That’s not the point at all,” Montano told Washington Post.
Instead she simply wished to inspire other women and show them that exercising while pregnant is perfectly healthy for the mother and child, of course with proper precautions.
During the race, Montano sported a cartoon Wonder Woman top, which is a perfect description of the type of person she is. She said in a Team USA newsletter that the superhero actually helped inspire her to run in the race.
“When I found out (star Gal Gadot) filmed half the movie [Wonder Woman] five months pregnant, I said, ‘I for sure am signing up for USA nationals.’”
— FloTrack (@FloTrack) June 23, 2017
But this isn’t the first time the Olympian competed in the USATF Outdoor Championships while pregnant. In 2014, she ran 800 meters while eight and a half months pregnant with her first child, Linnea, who is now almost three-years-old and currently one of her biggest supporters.
While preparing for this race, her first since February 2017, Montano told Washington Post that many people told her since she wasn’t as pregnant as the first time, she would most certainly run faster. Although it was true, she ran 11 seconds faster this time than in 2014, Montano insisted that she was still carrying a child and running in 110 degree heat.
“I know there is a lot of stigma and really, the word is ignorance, behind pregnant women and exercising. And the truth is, it’s good for the mom and the baby,” Montano said in a 2014 interview with CBS LA.
In 2014 she ran with her uniform top covering her stomach, but this time she bared it all and wasn’t ashamed. In fact she used it as a teachable moment. “It’s still a conversation that needs to be had. I represent so many different people: women, black women, pregnant women,” Montano said of competing while pregnant. “It’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and an advocate for them.”
And if how she returned to professional running after the birth of Linnea is any indication of Montano’s future successes, she has a bright future ahead of her as both a mother and a runner.