It’s common to hear the phrase: “motherhood is a full-time job.”
In fact, many stay-at-home moms who’ve dedicated their life to family care would say it’s one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs in the world.
This #MothersDay, marathon record breaker Cynthia Arnold is inspiring us all by proving you don't have to choose between being a mother and pursuing your passions. https://t.co/cBuug1tjLBpic.twitter.com/D4v3ZzeSyK— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) May 10, 2020
Sometimes this role can also come the stigma that moms need to give up other parts of life they once used to enjoy – but avid marathon runner Cynthia Arnold is setting the record straight.
A mom of three from Missoula, Montana (USA) and three-time Guinness World Records title holder, she’s proving that any mom can accomplish whatever goal they put their minds to, while still being an incredible mother.
Running was a passion for Cynthia. It was something that was very much a part of her life before she had children, and it was an activity she was determined to not give up after having them.
During her days, she would need to find time to get in a speed run in the midst of her basic parenting responsibilities to train for the races she participated in.
But there were times she needed to bring the stroller with her which prevented her from obtaining the same level of endurance she was doing solo.
After doing this new form of kid-friendly training for a while, her husband came up with an idea that combined both family and her favourite sport: going after a marathon pram record.
Cynthia was sold on the idea as it gave her a new challenge to look forward to – one that not only involved bonding with her children, but also teaching them strength and motivation.
“With the record in mind, my daily running took on a new meaning to both myself and the children. They no longer were just along for a ride, they knew, at least the older two did, that we had a goal a few months away. We talked about it together while I ran, they practiced helping each other with snacks and games so I would not have to stop during the race. My oldest daughter took on the role of ‘captain’ which meant that she did a lot of the things I would normally do--like open string cheese or hand out water bottles.”
Cynthia had her sights set on breaking the multiple marathon records over the years all of which required substantial training. The titles included:
- Fastest half marathon pushing a triple pram (female) - 1 hr 29 min 8 sec
- Fastest marathon pushing a triple pram (female) - 3 hr 11 min 53 sec
- Fastest half marathon pushing a double pram (female) - 1 hr 25 min 36 sec
There were days she did 20-mile solitary runs, but most of the practice involved her kids being pushed in a triple seated stroller which Cynthia and her husband managed to find.
Putting her role as a mother first, she was cognizant of the fact that distance runs meant a lot of sitting for her children, so the furthest she ever ran with them was 15 miles.
However, running with three little ones proved to be quite the stamina test.
Marathon running is already an extremely enduring cardio sport, but each child acted as a resistance weight Cynthia needed adapt to running with.
Months later, Cynthia wasn’t sure if she would break each of her records on race day, but one thing remained clear.
All of the effort, hard work and time spent preparing for this ambition led her to fusing her two loves together: running and being a mom.
“Running, which was once an activity I did just for myself, and then something I was desperate not to lose as parenting, turned into a gift I was able to give to three of the most important people in my life. I am thankful for the opportunity to attempt and hold these records. I feel I have done something special for my kids and that these records will have meaning for them for the rest of their lives.”
Luckily, Cynthia and her three children all were able to feel the rush of crossing the finish line and emerging a record holder.
During the race, her kids were more than supportive even though Cynthia was clear she would stop for anyone who needed bathroom breaks as some of these races were over 20 miles long.
But instead, they each enjoyed the water, snacks and toys that she had provided for her kids, and had fun looking at all of the people cheering for them on the sidelines of the race. Her youngest even took a nap!
After two years of continuous record breaking, Cynthia realized her story meant more than making memories with her family – it meant proving as a woman and a mother, that anything was possible.
“I feel that my records have become a statement on parenthood. You can keep doing the things you love, you can often do them with your kids, and you can inspire others to do the same. Women, girls and all people should be pushed to achieve their goals by a society that embraces achievements. We should all feel the obligation to do what we are capable of in hopes that we will push others to as well.”
And after becoming a multiple Guinness World Records title holder, Cynthia has found now a way to generously give back to her community.
She and her husband head a running organization called Polson Running, located in Polson, Montana which organizes local races for the community which helps to give back to other non-profits in the area.
By doing so, she hopes to motivate others to embrace health, happiness, friendship, appreciation for the places our bodies can go on foot, as well the power we hold inside ourselves.