Five-time U.S. champion Alysia Montano competed in the preliminaries of the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships today.
That sentence itself shouldn’t be too alarming — until you consider she’s six weeks away from delivering a baby.
Montano finished heat three in last place with a time of 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds, but a great deal more went into the 2012 Olympian even getting to the starting line.
Thirty-four weeks into her pregnancy, Montano consulted her doctor and midwife before ultimately making the decision about a month ago to run in Sacramento. The approval from her medical advisors made the decision much more comfortable.
“I’ve been running throughout the pregnancy and have been feeling really good during the whole process,“ Montano told reporters after the race. “Their approval took away any fear of what the outside world might think of a pregnant woman running.”
Despite not being competitive, Montano defended her presence at the meet, arguing she met all the technical requirements to compete after earning a qualifying time last season.
“There’s so much to say, not just about empowering women, but about allowing people to see how amazing a female body is,” Montano said.
Montano plans to continue her training regimen through the conclusion of her pregnancy with her baby being due on August 13.
“Exercising is much better for the mother and the baby,” said Montano. “The chemical changes of a pregnancy can be so emotionally distressing and that it would be so much better running.”
Montano’s appearance at the meet was greeted by a warm reception and a standing ovation from the crowd at Sacramento State University’s Hornet Stadium.
“I just felt so supported,” Montano said. “The two laps were more than I hoped they would be.”