Parenting is hard. A single trip to the grocery store can prove to be a chore when there is a stroller full of kids involved. Despite this, a mother of three from Montana, Cynthia Arnold took this challenge one step further by running an entire marathon pushing a stroller with a one-year-old, a four-year-old, and a six-year-old inside of it. This is not the first time she’s tried a stunt like this, either.
Who is Cynthia Arnold?
This amazing feat wasn’t the first time that Arnold has made headlines for her feats of speed, endurance, and willpower. Just last year, she performed the first step of this process when she broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest-half-marathon while pushing a three-person stroller, blowing the previous record, 1:47:32, by almost 20 minutes.
According to Arnold, the fact that she is doing this with her kids takes the stress out of running, as she is spending time with them. “Running alone in a race is so simple now,” Arnold told Runner’s world. “It’s interesting to me how my perspective has changed as I have grown as a mother. I used to really stress so much about racing, and now it’s sort of the last thing I’m thinking about.”
Arnold takes advantage of the features of her home state to train for these marathons, and she says that her kids enjoy the training process. “We live in rural Montana and see lots of wildlife on the bike path right out my door,” Arnold said to Runner’s World. “I keep a pretty consistent routine and see some regular commuters each day, and the kids like saying hello to the cyclists.”
She claims that running with the stroller is a benefit, not a hindrance, as she was an avid runner before she had kids. She explained to Runners World that without the stroller, she couldn’t run at all, so she simply made it part of her routine. This does not mean that she has completely given up on running in the normal sense, however. She plans on running a normal marathon this fall.
Given the nature of her run, Cynthia Arnold gained a vocal fanbase as she ran in the marathon. Some even remembered her half-marathon from the year before. They were excited to see her further push the limits. “The crowd was amazingly supportive,” she said. “I was moved by how many people were cheering for me and knew what my goal was on race day. One woman called out ‘I’ve been reading about you all year. Go mom!'”
The record that Arnold was going to have to beat was 4:06, an impressive mark for a runner who isn’t carrying an extra 185 pounds with them. Arnold shattered this record by nearly an hour, coming in at 3:11. That is an average of 7:20-per-mile. This was only 20 minutes past the first-place in the women’s division, and it was the eighth-best overall time.
Going the extra mile
Arnold is not alone in her willingness to add an extra challenge such as this to her running. A Hunting Beach, California father named Chad Kempel has gone even further, pushing his one-year-old quintuplets not just the 26.2 miles that a marathon entails, but an extra 1.1 miles in honor of the 27 weeks and 3 days his wife carried them before prematurely giving birth. The kids were able to push through, and Kempel uses his marathons to honor both them and his wife.
Kempel and Arnold are using running to show that parenting doesn’t have to get in the way of their passion, nor does their passion have to do the same for their parenting. Their feats are inspiring, and their ability to perform as well as they do is a testament to their strength and will to do so.