Running a marathon is an impressive feat for anyone, but for some women, it's also a way to celebrate their pregnancy and motherhood. That's the case for Keira D'Amato, who set a new American marathon record for women on Sunday, just four months after giving birth to her second child⁵.
D'Amato, 37, finished the Chevron Houston Marathon in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 12 seconds, breaking the previous record of 2:19:36 set by Deena Kastor in 2006. She also qualified for the U.S. Olympic team trials for Paris 2024.
D'Amato is not the only woman who has run a marathon while pregnant or postpartum. In fact, there are several examples of women who have done so in recent years.
For instance, in October 2011, Amber Miller ran the Chicago Marathon when she was almost 39 weeks pregnant. She completed the race in 6 hours and 25 minutes and gave birth to her daughter just hours later².
In February 2020, three women participated in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials while pregnant or newly delivered. Stefanie Slekis finished the race four weeks after giving birth; Lauren Philbrook and Rachel Hyland ran until they were 33 and 27 weeks pregnant respectively¹.
In July 2021, Makenna Myler broke the Deseret News Half Marathon record with a time of 1:14:27 when she was nine months postpartum. She had previously gone viral for running a mile in 5:25 when she was nine months pregnant⁴.
These women are inspiring examples of how pregnancy and motherhood do not have to stop one from pursuing their athletic goals. However, running a marathon while pregnant or postpartum also comes with some risks and challenges.
According to experts, pregnant women who want to run a marathon should consult with their doctors first and listen to their bodies carefully. They should avoid training in extreme temperatures or high altitudes that could affect their blood pressure or oxygen levels³. They should also hydrate well and consume enough calories to support their baby's growth.
Postpartum women who want to run a marathon should also seek medical clearance before resuming their training. They should gradually increase their mileage and intensity as their body recovers from childbirth. They should also pay attention to their pelvic floor health and breastfeeding needs.
Running a marathon while pregnant or postpartum may not be for everyone, but for some women like Keira D'Amato, it's an amazing way to celebrate their strength and resilience as mothers and runners.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 3/10/2023
(1) Keira D'Amato sets new American marathon record for women : NPR - NPR.org. https://www.npr.org/2022/01/17/1073661354/keira-damato-sets-new-american-marathon-record-for-women Accessed 3/10/2023.
(2) Woman Gives Birth After Running Marathon | Fox News. https://www.foxnews.com/health/woman-gives-birth-after-running-marathon Accessed 3/10/2023.
(3) Olympic Marathon Trials - Two Pregnant Women and One New Mom in the Field. https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a31166343/olympic-marathon-trials-pregnant-runners/ Accessed 3/10/2023.
(4) Utah woman who ran 5:25 mile at 9 months pregnant breaks Deseret News .... https://www.ksl.com/article/50211194/utah-woman-who-ran-525-mile-at-9-months-pregnant-breaks-deseret-news-half-marathon-record Accessed 3/10/2023.
(5) Staying Safe While Training For A Marathon During Pregnancy. https://www.babygaga.com/training-marathon-during-pregnancy/ Accessed 3/10/2023.
(6) Pregnant, postpartum Boston Marathon runners can defer to another year .... https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2023/01/25/pregnant-postpartum-boston-marathon-runners-can-defer-to-another-year-baa-announces Accessed 3/10/2023.
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