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Girls & Women

This Woman Just Ran an 800-Meter Race While Pregnant to Inspire Women Everywhere

In 2014, six-time national champion runner and Olympian Alysia Montaño made headlines for running an 800-meter race while eight months pregnant. 

Now, Montaño is back at it, albeit it with a small wardrobe change. 

Last week, Montaño ran the 800-meter while five months pregnant with her second child, and this time, she wore a Wonder Woman top to boot.

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“I don’t define myself as a runner,” Montaño told Team USA, the official website for US Olympic teams. “I really define myself as a fighter for good. And I see that playing true in running.” 

Montaño chose to wear the Wonder Woman top after learning that the star of that film, Gal Gadot, also filmed the blockbuster film while five months pregnant. 

Along with the Wonder Woman top, the runner sported a bright yellow flower in her hair, which, according to her website, symbolizes “strength with femininity.” 

“I think that a lot of people say things like you run like a girl,” she is quoted as saying on her site. “That doesn't mean you have to run soft or you have to run dainty. It means that you're strong."

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Although she came in last in her heat, running the 800-meter race with a time of 2:21:40 seconds, Montaño carried with her a far more important message of women’s empowerment. 

“I represent so many different people: women, black women, pregnant women,” she told Team USA. “It’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and an advocate for them.”

Her 2014 decision to run the 800-meter while eight months pregnant was met with much scrutiny, the New York Times reported

“People sometimes act like being pregnant is a nine-month death sentence, like you should lie in bed all day,” Montaño said at the time. “I wanted to be an example for women starting a family while continuing a career, whatever that might be.” 

For many women who want to balance starting a family and continuing their professional athletic careers, this can pose a difficult choice. 

“A pregnancy is still frequently treated as if it were an injury, and women can experience a pay cut or not be paid at all if they do not compete for six months,” the Times reported. 

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But Montaño and other runners like Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor and Lashinda Demus, who have also continued to compete as professional runners after going through a pregnancy, are paving a new path, showing that pregnant women don’t need to put their entire lives on hold for three-quarters of the year. 

Now, with two pregnant races under her belt (or should we say above her belt), Montaño has adapted a sense of humor about the process. 

“I have some pretty awesome maternity photos from both pregnancies,” she wrote on Instagram.