Motherhood doesn’t have to mean the end of a competitive running career. While balancing family, work and personal fitness can be a challenge for anyone, these 11 amazing women have managed to continue competing at a high level. Scroll through the photos below to read about some inspiring mothers who are also very fast runners.
Megan Lund-Lizotte, 30, La Jolla, Calif.
Since her daughter was born over a year ago, Lund-Lizotte, 30, has come to focus on high quality workouts and making the most out of the training time she has available, even when if means early morning workouts—not her favorite. A native of Aspen, Colo., who now lives near San Diego, Lund-Lizotte made the 2013 U.S. team for the World Mountain Running Championships while she was still breast-feeding Maven, so she traveled to the race in Poland with her daughter, a breast pump and her mom. (She finished 32nd in the 9K race, helping the U.S. to a fifth-place team finish.) Photo: Scott Draper
Deena Kastor, 41, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
In April, 41-year-old Deena Kastor, a three-time U.S. Olympian, set a new U.S. masters half marathon record (1:11:38), her fastest clocking since giving birth to her daughter, Piper Bloom, in 2011. Kastor, the bronze medalist in the marathon at the 2004 Olympics, remains the only American woman to break 2:20 in the marathon (2:19:36). Last summer, she finished ninth in the marathon at the world championships in Moscow. Photo: PhotoRun.net
Kara Goucher, 35, Boulder, Colo.
About seven months after her son, Colt, was born, Goucher finished fifth in the 2011 Boston Marathon in a new PR of 2:24:52. She’s since placed third at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, 11th at the 2012 Olympics and sixth at the 2013 Boston Marathon. In addition to training for a fall marathon, Goucher has entered new partnerships with Oiselle, Skechers and Nuun, among others. Photo: Courtesy of Oiselle
Paula Radcliffe, 40, London
British marathon legend Paula Radcliffe gave herself 12 days off after her daughter was born in 2007, Isla, but stretched it to three and a half weeks after child number two, a son, Raphael, arrived in 2010. In 2007, less than 10 months after the birth of Isla, Radcliffe, then 33, won the New York City Marathon in 2:23:09. (Pictured above.) She returned to win the race a year later in 2:23:56 and in 2011, a year after having Raphael, she placed third in the Berlin Marathon in 2:23:46. Radcliffe’s marathon personal best 2:15:25 from 2003 remains the world record. Photo: PhotoRun.net
Lauren Fleshman, 33, Bend, Ore.
In the 11 months since her son was born, the two-time U.S. 5,000m champion and 2:37 marathoner has listened to her body with regards to training (like many new moms, she’s had her fair share of sleep deprivation, low energy and loose ligaments, and is taking time to enjoy being a mom. Yet Fleshman, 33, she still managed to clock a 15:53 at the Sydney Track Classic 5K in March—her first race since after having Jude. An entrepreneur who helped start Picky Bars, Fleshman is co-writing a running book for women with Roisin McGettigan-Dumas called "Believe." (Look for it in bookstores in October.) Photo: Courtesy of Oiselle
Tiffany Williams, 31, Orlando, Fla.
Tiffany Williams was the U.S. champion in the 400-meter hurdles in 2007 and 2008 and finished eighth at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing after giving birth to her first daughter, SaMya. She placed third at the 2009 U.S. championships before taking 2010 off due to being pregnant with her second daughter, SaNiya. The 31-year-old speedster admits making a complete comeback has been difficult, but she’s run fast times for the past three years—including a personal best time in the 300-meter sprint race (37.36) in 2012 in Istanbul. Photo: PhotoRun.net
Darcy Piceu, 39, Boulder, Colo.
Darcy Piceu is one of the world’s top ultrarunners and is the two-time defending champion at the grueling Hardrock 100 in Colorado. She has run more than 60 ultra distance events and finished first at 14 races ranging from 50K to 100-miles since her daughter was born in 2008. To balance family, training and work, the 39-year old sits down at the beginning of each week with a calendar to see where she can fit in workouts. Daughter Sophia comes first in Piceu planning and she does the best she can with the rest. Photo: Brooks Freehill
Anita Ortiz, 49, Eagle, Colo.
Though she always ran to stay fit, Anita Ortiz (center) didn't start running races with any seriousness until she was in her mid-30s after having four children. Since then, the full-time kindergarten teacher has trained early in the morning, during lunch and after her kids have gone to bed. That rigorous schedule has helped her nab more than 100 first-place finishes, including a win at the 2009 Western States 100, several snowshoe racing national titles and three consecutive years as the U.S. women’s mountain running champion. At 49, Ortiz is still racing strong, and she’s passed the racing gene on to the next generation. Her oldest daughter, Amelia, 20, runs for Williams College in Massachusetts, while her second-oldest daughter Mandy, 19, a freshman at the University of Colorado, won the junior women’s 4.6K race at the World Mountain Running Championships last September in Poland. Photo: Brian Metzler
Magdalena Lewy Boulet, 40, Berkeley, Calif.
Magdalena Lewy Boulet turned head when she burst to a big lead at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Boston. The young mother eventually finished second an earned the chance to run in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Now a competitive masters marathoner and ultrarunner, she likes to fit her workouts in early, so she can be done in time to have breakfast with her 9-year-old son, Owen before going to work. (She’s the director of research and product development for GU Energy Labs in Berkeley, Calif.) Amazingly, all of Boulet’s personal bests from 5000m (15:14:25) to the marathon (2:26:22) have come since her son Owen was born in 2005. She’s started to make a splash as an ultrarunner. In March, she won the Way Too Cool 50K in Cool, Calif. in 3:53:09. Then about six weeks later, she placed 28th at the Boston Marathon in 2:41:36 and finished third in the masters division. Photo: PhotoRun.net
Christy Cazzola, 28, Oshkosh, Wis.
Christy Cazzola, a state champion high school runner in Wisconsin, turned down an NCAA Division I scholarship in 2003 to take some time and figure out what she wanted to do with her life. In the meantime, she had a son, Noah, and a daughter, Kaya. She eventually enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and reignited her running career. At last year’s NCAA Division III outdoor track championships, Cazzola won the 800-, 1500- and 5,000-meter races in a matter of a few hours. Now a senior, she recently placed fourth in the university division of the 800-meter run (2:05.68) and third in the 1500-meter run (4:20.80) at the Drake Relays in April. Photo: Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Lashinda Demus, 31, Palmdale, Calif.
Demus has been a fixture among Americas’s top hurdlers for nearly more than a decade. Now at the peak of her career and a mother of 6-year-old twin boys, Dontay and Duaine, she enjoys the support of her mother, who is her coach, and her husband, who serves as her agent. At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials she went from first to fourth in the final stretch, an indication she was not quite at full strength after giving birth to her boys in June 2007. Since then Demus has been on a roll with a 2011 world title, an American record (52.47), an Olympic silver medal in 2012 and a world championships bronze medal last summer in Moscow. Photo: PhotoRun.net