Let’s face it, moms are pretty much as close to real life superheroes as you can get. One super mom is proof that women really are superheroes that walk—or in this case, run—among us when she breastfed her son while…running an ultra marathon.
Yes, an ultra marathon. What’s the difference, you might ask? While a standard marathon is 26 miles long, an ultra marathon is typically much, much longer. In the case of the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in France, where mom Sophie Power (yes, her real name) was a racer, the length was a grueling 105 miles. Power didn’t let that incredible distance—or the fact that she was still nursing her three-month-old son—stop her from fulfilling her goal of taking part.
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Elle s’appelle Sophie Power. Elle a 36 ans et Cormac, son fils, 3 mois. La scène se déroule à Courmayeur, à la mi-course d’un UTMB que cette Anglaise aura finalement bouclé en 43h33. En prenant cette photo, j’étais loin d’imaginer qu’elle serait publiée dans le monde entier, reprise par @runnersworldmag, @stern, @foxnews , @leparisien , @dailymail , @thesun , @yahoonews et tant d’autres médias qui ignorent d’ordinaire celles et ceux qui courent à la recherche de leurs limites. Ce qui est exceptionnel, bien entendu, ce n’est pas la photo, mais c’est bien elle, dans toute sa force, Sophie Power. « C’est ma photo de running préférée, m’a-t-elle écrit @ultra_sophie. Car cette photo est bien plus réelle qu’une image de papier glacé d’un coureur qui dévale un sentier de montagne ». Je ne sais pas mieux dire.
Photographer Alexis Berg snapped a seemingly innocuous photo of Power taking a break at an aid station mid race to both nurse her baby and pump at the same time (seriously, that feat in itself is worth a medal). The picture quickly went viral, however—and received both positive and negative feedback.
While Power never expected the amount of attention the moment has received, she hasn’t backed away from it and instead is using it to send a very powerful message: moms are people, too.
“There is this huge mother’s guilt that all the time you need to be 100 percent focused on your baby, and I’m saying that by not focusing on your own physical and mental health you can’t be the best mother. For me, personally, I need to be physically fit and have those mental breaks. Women really struggle to be open about saying that,” Power told The Guardian.
While Power went into the race without being hard on herself to reach the end, she managed to cross the finish line in 44 hours. Not only did her youngest son accompany her on her mid-race break, but her three-year-old joined her within a few yards of the end racing alongside her. Power scooped up her baby and completed the race with both of her children.
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A week ago I was at the top of Flegere about to run down the mountain into Chamonix and finish UTMB. I'd had 20 minutes sleep over 2 nights – my body was tired and I was hallucinating. What kept me going was how excited I knew Donnacha was about running with me to the finish. He'd done his race earlier in the week and had waited so patiently for 2 days to help me on mine. This captures the picture in my mind so beautifully. I did have to tell him to slow down though! #utmb #runnersworld #ultrarunning
“This picture has allowed women to say: ‘When we become mothers our self-identity doesn’t change,’” Power explained. “We shouldn’t have to lose who we were before we were mothers. Men certainly don’t. You see all these great pictures of dads crossing finishing lines with their babies. Why do we as a society see that as different for the mother?”
Featured photo: Quino Al via Unsplash