SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Thirty-four weeks pregnant, Alysia Montano ran the 800 meters Thursday in the U.S. Track and Field Championships.
The five-time national champion finished in 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds in the qualifying rounds, only seven weeks before she’s scheduled to give birth to her first child.
That the 28-year-old former University of California star finished last in her heat didn’t matter one bit to the crowd gathered at Hornet Stadium. Trailing the lead pack by more than 120 meters for most of the race, Montano received a rousing ovation as she finished her first lap and the cheering grew louder when she finally crossed the finish line.
“I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy and I felt really, really good during the whole process,” Montano said. “I just didn’t want to get lapped and be the first person to get lapped in the 800.”
Montano, who won the 800 national titles the past four years, was never in trouble of being lapped. She took a nice relaxed pace from the start and maintained it throughout.
That was according to the plan Montano laid out after consulting with her physician. Not only did doctors give Montano the OK to run, they encouraged her.
“That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy,” Montano said. “What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby. … I did all the things I normally do … I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year.”
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.