Running a Marathon at 38 Weeks Pregnant? That’s Just Plain Stupid.

I’m a marathoner. And I have a baby. But running 26.2 miles while pregnant? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t do it at any stage of my pregnancy.

It’s being reported all over the place: the woman who ran the Chicago Marathon this weekend at 38 weeks pregnant, giving birth hours later. Sorry folks, but I think that’s just plain stupid.

The year and a half before I got pregnant I ran Chicago, Boston and New York. It’s not like you wake up and decide to run a marathon. There is extensive training involved. I’m going to take a wild leap here and guess that she trained throughout her entire pregnancy. Which means running in excess of 18 miles on a fairly regular basis in her 3rd trimester. No doubt about it, she put her body through some extreme stress.

Look, I’m all for staying in shape during your pregnancy. I ran through a decent deal of my first pregnancy. But more like 3 miles a few times a week. I ran slow, and took it easy.  No sprinting. At around 5 months I just decided to stop running in lieu of long hikes combined with lunges–which are low impact. When I asked my doctor about running hard, he said, “Why have a baby bouncing around in there like that? It just doesn’t sound like a great idea.” And I agreed. It seemed well, dare I say, logical??

Yeah, I know, baby seems fine. Yeah, I know, she did a run/walk, finishing in 6 hours and 25 minutes (that’s about a 15 minute mile).  But I think common sense should intervene on this one.

Forget the science. You are carrying a baby, not a bowling ball. This living, breathing thing is being sloshed around in your belly like a ship caught in a storm at sea. Who thinks that sounds like fun? As someone who gets massively seasick, not I.  But it goes beyond that. When you become pregnant, priorities naturally have to shift. Or at least they should. And in case she doesn’t know, some of these sacrifices continue for the next, oh, 18 years.

Lastly, don’t forget, this was a choice. She wasn’t forced to flee from her burning village or walk 26.2 miles to a refuge camp. She made a conscious decision to do this. I truly think she was putting her own needs (and maybe those of the spotlight) in front of her baby on this one.

I just hope she is equipped for the marathon of motherhood. And the sacrifices that follow.

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  1. [...] Home › Lifestyle › Running a Marathon While 38 Weeks Pregnant? That’s Just Stupid. [...]

  2. by Abbey

    On October 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Every woman knows her own body and what she is or isn’t capable of doing. I, myself, cannot imagine running any length at 38 weeks pregnant, I could barely walk, but to each her own. I wish we women would stop bashing each other over every decision we have a different opinion about and start supporting each other. We are the only ones who know what it is like to carry and birth a child, so support one another as they go through this amazing journey.

  3. by Berit Thorkelson

    On October 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I, too, quit running at some point in my pregnancies in favor of lower impact activities. Truthfully, I thought I’d run through them, but it just didn’t work that way. (doctor’s orders after a scare on the first one, my instincts on the second) Maybe if she’s a super athlete that’s always in peak condition? That I could see. But it does sound as if it was a challenge for her… so I’m confused. Why challenge your body like that when it’s already busy challenging itself?

  4. by Debbie

    On October 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Every time I hear this mentioned, I hear the same thing. It ranges from impressed to lauding this fitness superwoman. Your post is the first I’ve seen that echoes my own thoughts when I first heard about this.

    First: what a completely selfish act. Unconscionable, IMO.
    Second: NO KIDDING she went into labor that day. The stress of a marathon? On an almost-full-term pregnancy?

  5. by Courtney

    On October 13, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I feel exactly the same way! I think that’s utterly ridiculous and selfish. The only possible way that could even be remotely healthy (which I feel it totally isn’t) is if she was eating the extra calories to endure such a grueling task and taking care of herself otherwise. This almost makes me wonder if she even had prenatal care because no doctor in their right mind would be okay with that. She was obviously not thinking of her baby but herself! This is absolutely appalling!

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  7. by Jack

    On January 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Why do you need to bash this woman? She had her doctor’s ok. Are you a physician? And one of your main arguments is fetal seasickness? (Speaking of stupid…that is a pretty silly argument.)

    But my main thought in reading this was that you could stand to learn a bit about manners and being polite–are you teaching your kid(s) to be a**holes like yourself?

  8. by Jack

    On April 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    i have been running my whole pregnancy… even now at 37 weeks pregnant! people criticize what they don’t understand. we have doctors that monitor us… just because you ran marathons doesn’t make you the marathon pregnancy running god.

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