American track star Alysia Montano ran in a competitive race on Thursday while 8 months pregnant with her first child.
Montano competed in the 800-meter race at the USA Track & Field (USATF) championships, the Associated Press reported. Sporting a trademark flower in her hair and a noticeable baby bump, she completed the race in 2 minutes and 32.13 seconds.
The 28-year-old, America’s reigning 800-meter champion for the last four years, finished in last place. Still, she felt good about her performance. “I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy, and I felt really, really good during the whole process,” she said after the race.
She finished the race well behind the nearest competitor, but she still drew cheers from the crowd at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California. “I just didn’t want to get lapped and be the first person to get lapped in the 800,” she added.
Montano’s decision to race while pregnant was mostly met with praise on Twitter; one admirer referred to her as a “real life superwoman.” While some questioned whether the race would endanger the health of her baby, Montano said that her doctors encouraged her to run.
“That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy,” she said. “What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby. […] I did all the things I normally do … I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year.”
A five-time United States outdoor champion in the 800-meter event, Montano also earned a bronze medal in the event at the 2010 World Indoor championship, according to her profile on USA Track & Field's official website. She attended the University of California, where she was named the 2007 PAC-10 Women’s Track Athlete of the Year.