For most of us, running is a lifestyle… not just an occasional hobby.
So, when your life takes a sudden drastic turn – say, by having kids – there’s no reason your running lifestyle can’t continue.
Sure, kids take up a lot of time and energy. But that doesn’t mean you have to curb your love of running. If you need a little extra inspiration to start running with your kids in tow, just take a look at famed stroller-runner Cynthia Arnold.
As a new mother, Cynthia may just be the motivation you need to train for your next run… stroller running and all!
While many of us cringe at the idea of pushing a stroller laden with three kids to the end of the block and back, Cynthia Arnold does it for miles and miles. Even more impressive, she does this at running speeds many of us can only dream of reaching.
In 2018, Arnold ran the Missoula Half-Marathon in Missoula, Montana and broke the Guinness World Record for fastest half-marathon “while pushing a three-person stroller.” (Yes, that’s an actual world record category.)
She accomplished this feat in an impressive 1 hour 29 minutes. This time placed her 14th overall and 3rd in her age group.
And, she was the only one doing it while pushing her cheering section!
Arnold wasn’t done though. She returned in 2019 to set a world record for the full marathon with three children who were one year older and one year larger. Her kids were now ages six, four and one. To be precise, her children and the stroller created a whopping 185 pound challenge for Arnold to push.
To beat the record, Arnold had to complete the full marathon in under 4 hours and six minutes.
When she crossed the finish line, she had plenty of time to spare. She finished the race at 3 hours 11 minutes, having maintained a 7:20/mile pace over the course.
Obviously Arnold didn’t just decide to run a marathon and participate the same day with her kids in tow. An experienced runner, Arnold knew what she was in for, but also knew she would need to work at it… running a marathon isn’t the easiest of tasks.
It took preparation, but it’s something you can aspire to too!
After starting her training during the winter, she did a test marathon in February along with a series of 20-mile runs.
She may have run the final race with everyone in tow, but that doesn’t mean they did all of her training together. The whole crew went along on days when training was 10 miles or less, although she did test herself with a 17-mile day just to get a feel for it.
Chasing her Guinness World Records also proved to be an excellent way to get her children outdoors and interacting with their surroundings.
According to Arnold, “I think if I can instill the love of being outside and nature in them, and they count butterflies and see the dragonflies and a gazillion grasshoppers hopping around, that’s so much better in the long run than watching cartoons all Saturday morning.”
While her children may not be old enough to run any sort of marathon themselves, children can still benefit from being outside just the same as adults. Arnold recognized the impact of introducing her children to a healthy and active lifestyle at a young age. “Kids should realize that it’s fun and normal and good to make these types of choices,” Arnold said.
Using a running stroller, whether it’s for a marathon or not, can help any parent retain a part of themselves that may have taken a backseat after having a baby.
This can also be a source of motivation, the same way it was for Cynthia. “Those of us who run know how much it is a part of our identity. You can’t just give that up if you become a parent. The stroller gives one the freedom to carry on a lifestyle with new ones in tow,” she explains.
There’s no need to sacrifice your runner-ness, it just requires a little extra seating. The key is finding a stroller that fits your family. There are a wide variety of running strollers on the market to accommodate any size family on any budget.
Thule Chariot Cross – $1050 – This model keeps the elements from getting in your way. Yes, you might be fine with a little rain, but your kids won’t be enjoying themselves sitting in a wet stroller. You can also use this stroller as a bike trailer if you want to change things up on any given day.
BOB Rambler – $360 – This stroller is great for anyone living in a larger city, where an easily-foldable, compact stroller can really save the day. As with any compact stroller, this is not meant for anything approaching rugged terrain. However, the bump-absorbing shocks can handle any city sidewalk or paved park trail.
KidRunner – $795 – This model might make you do a bit of a double take, since you are actually pulling the stroller behind you. That’s right, instead of pushing the stroller ahead of you with your hands, you strap on the padded waist harness and pull your little ones along. This is awesome because it allows you to still use your arms, so you retain a more normal running motion.
Baby Jogger – $400 – This is the stroller for those that like to take things off-road. With larger wheels, a hand brake, and great suspension, this things is ready to take on Mother Nature. That being said, it’s also smooth on paved roads and folds down flat for easy storage once you get back to the car.
Baby Trend Expedition Jogger – $78 – If you want to include the family on your runs without breaking the bank, look no further. Keep in mind, this is going to be for the more casual runner, don’t expect to be running 20 miles or taking it off the beaten path.
With all of these options, there’s nothing stopping you from logging your miles while showing your kids how strong you are.
Woman Shatters Triple-Stroller Pushing Record in Half Marathon: McGee Nall; 2018
Mom Runs 3:11 Marathon With a Triple Stroller While Pushing 185 Pounds: Gabrielle Hondrop; 2019