British ultra runner Sophie Power runs UTMB whilst breastfeeding

 

 

Taking on the toughest ultra race is one thing, but breastfeeding your three month old at the same time goes beyond the measure of most. This is what happened this year at the 166km UTMB where British ultra runner Sophie Power continued to breastfeed her child during the event. The below image was captured by a photographer for Strava, showing her 3-month-old baby in one hand, and a breast pump in the other; something which is rarely seen at events like this. She completed the race in 43 hours and 33 minutes. 

Photo: Alexis Berg / Strava

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The runner, and mother to baby Cormac, usually feeds every three hours, but it took her a testing 16 hours to reach Courmayeur where her baby was waiting. Before she reached him, she was met by her husband at every aid station along the route, where he would hand her a breast pump and ferry back the milk to their baby son. 
 
"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. I was so relieved he was hungry!" Power explains. 
 
Power had to take the race slow and steady and made subtle changes to the way she ran to cater for the fact that she was breastfeeding. She said: "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. In a typical race I would get in and out of the aid stations as quickly as possible but here I had to focus on keeping down enough food for me and for Cormac, and resting." 

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She also believes that keeping active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is really important, and went on to say: "During pregnancy, it felt like all the advice was to put your feet up and get fat, as anything else was taking a risk. This is not the best way to prepare for motherhood - staying fit, healthy and strong is so important and how you can safely do that needs to be talked about more."
 
You can view Sophie's activity on Strava here: https://www.strava.com/activities/1824036620