A British marathon runner left people awestruck when she stopped to breastfeed her three-month-old baby during a 106-mile, high-elevation marathon race. A picture of Sophie Power feeding her infant son in one hand, and a breast pump in the other has struck a chord with people around the globe, who are now hailing her as an inspiration.
Power, who took part in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc trail run through France, Italy, and Switzerland, has been lauded for showing “motherhood endurance” and “the strength of the human body” in the photo taken by photographer Alexis Berg.
Talking to Runners World UK, Power explained why it was necessary to breastfeed her son during the break. “Oh my God, I was in agony! Cormac usually feeds every 3 hours and it took me 16 to get to Courmayeur where he could first meet me so I was hand expressing everywhere I could en route,” Power was quoted. “I was so relieved he was hungry!” she added.
If a candid photo that gives confidence to women is my favourite race photo – this is probably my second. 20 minutes sleep over 2 nights driven on by the look I knew would be on Donnacha’s face running to the finish with me. pic.twitter.com/zxFAQqqiz9
— Sophie Power (@ultra_sophie) September 9, 2018
#UTMB @UTMBMontBlanc 107 miles done. Took a while but reckon I was still fastest mum of a 3 month old baby. And possibly the only runner on the supply side at aid stations. Big thanks to my amazing coach @suttonelc for getting me there! pic.twitter.com/JMiBZUpGU6
— Sophie Power (@ultra_sophie) September 3, 2018
“I couldn’t raise my heart rate too much as my body isn’t primed to burn fat and I couldn’t fully run downhills to protect my pelvis,” she said. Despite her breaks, she finished the race in 43 hours and 33 minutes.
As the story went viral, she also mentioned how she was barred from participating in the UTMB race earlier when she became pregnant with her first child. She was first accepted to be part of the race in 2014, but was told she wasn’t allowed to defer a year because pregnancy ‘was a choice’. “They allow deferrals for injuries but do not accept for pregnancy as it is, in their words, ‘a choice’,” the Metro UK reported.
“I really wanted to get the message out, most other international races have changed their policy to be fair to women,” the report added.
Taking to Instagram, the athlete, highlighting about postpartum fitness and health, said, “This isn’t a story about me. It’s a story about the daily struggle of being a new Mum. A story about the need to nurture our babies the best we can.”