U.S. Olympic 800m runner Alysia Montaño raced five months pregnant in 100-degree heat at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Summer Champions Series) in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday.
Montaño, who raced eight months pregnant at the 2014 USATF Outdoors also in Sacramento, finished last in her 800m first-round heat in 2:21.40. She was 10 seconds faster than her time three years ago.
“People were like, oh, you’re going to run faster than you did last time because you’re less pregnant,” Montaño told media in Sacramento, standing next to 2-year-old daughter Linnea. “I was like, I’m still pregnant.”
Athletes are looking for top-three finishes to qualify for the world championships in London in August. Finals are later this weekend.
In a Wonder Woman top, Montaño gritted her teeth on the final straightaway and raised her arms crossing the finish line.
Montaño said she was inspired when she learned Gal Gadot, who played the title role in the movie “Wonder Woman,” filmed half of it while five months pregnant.
“I saw Wonder Woman, and I was like, I for sure am signing up for USA Nationals,” Montaño said. “I already was thinking I was going to do it.”
Montano added that she had been mostly inspired by feedback from women who saw her racing while pregnant three years ago.
“I heard from so many people who said they had been inspired by my story,” she said. “I feel responsible to be a representative. I represent women, I represent black women, I represent pregnant women. It’s been fantastic.“
Asked if she had been apprehensive about running in the searing heat, she told AFP:
“Absolutely not. We are so incredibly privileged to live in America. There are women that birth babies after babies after babies in Saudi Arabia, in Africa. Honestly, two minutes running out in the heat?”
“I know how to take care of myself. I drank a ton of water, took a lot of electrolytes, which is not always the case for women who have babies in parts of the world that are much hotter than here.”
Montaño said it wasn’t easier or harder racing Thursday versus three years ago, when she had a bigger baby bump.
“The weird part about five months is you’re still growing and like shifting a lot,” she said. “So every week you have to readjust.”