Alysia Montano set a world record Thursday in the 800 meters for the fastest time by a bowling-ball pregnant runner.
On Thursday in Sacramento, California, Montano, the five-time U.S. national champion in the 800 meters, including for the last four years, finished last in her heat at the U.S. track and field championships for a very good reason–she was nearly eight months pregnant. Montano ran roughly 120 meters behind the rest of the runners for most of the race, but it didn’t matter; the crowd in Hornet Stadium erupted by the time she finished the first lap, and the cheering crescendoed as she ran the last lap.
Montano’s posted a time of 2:32 seconds. She ran her best time, 1:57:34, two years ago in Monaco. The former University of California star commented after the heat, “I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy and I felt really, really good during the whole process…. I just didn’t want to get lapped and be the first person to get lapped in the 800.”
Her passenger could not be reached for comment.
Montano was never lapped in the race, and following her doctor’s orders to run a steady, she set a relaxed pace from start to finish. She said her doctors approved of her attempt. “That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy,” Montano explained. “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.”