This Powerful Photo Gives a New Meaning to the Word Perseverance

As more female athletes grace the news, the topic of balancing motherhood and athletics has become more prevalent. This candid photo illustrates that it’s entirely possible to be a mother and an athlete.

The physiological changes to a mother’s body that come along with birthing and nursing a new baby are numerous. While exercise does not need to stop during pregnancy and thereafter, a mother’s body must adapt to the extra caloric needs. Breastfeeding mothers must use caution when running so as to not inadvertently diminish their milk supply.

No one knows this better than the British athlete, Sophie Power. The 36-year old mother-of-two just completed the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. This 106-mile trail race through France, Italy, and Switzerland took Power 43 and a half hours to complete.

Related: Meanwhile in Canada: Hockey Mom Applauded for Breastfeeding During Intermission 

Completing an ultramarathon is a feat in and of itself, but Power did it just three months after giving birth to her second son, Cormac. 16 Hours into her marathon, photographer Alexis Berg captured a powerful moment when Power stopped to breastfeed her son.

“Oh my god, I was in agony. Cormac usually feeds every three 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 told Runner’s World.

Discussing the adjustments that she had to make running this race a mere 90 days after giving birth, Powers explains, “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,” she said.

Related: Gap Photographer Captures Beautiful Moment Between Mom and Baby

Strava, a mobile app network for runners and cyclists, as Powers for permission to post the photo on social media. In just over two days, the image has been liked over 25,000 times. Strava writes on their Instagram page, “A truly incredible image that tells a better story than we ever could – a story of motherhood, endurance and the strength of the human body. Captured by our photographer, @alexis_berg, during the 105 mile @utmbmontblanc race, British ultra-runner Sophie Power breastfeeds her 3 month old baby, Cormac. @ultra_sophie we applaud you. We applaud your endurance, your courage and your defiance of those who told you you couldn’t. You’re a true inspiration.”

Powers responded by sharing the photo on her own Instagram page and writing, “A few days ago I had a call from @strava asking to share this picture and for the story behind it. But 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. And the importance to prioritize our physical and mental health – to be ourselves as well as be a mother.I have been overwhelmed by the positivity and supportive messages. They are for all mothers for we are all in this together #motherhood.”

What keeps a Mama going on a two-day run? Powers reveals that she could not wait to run through the finish line with her oldest, Donnacha. It’s amazing how far a mother’s love can take a woman.

Photo Credit: Alexis Berg 







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