Jessica Ennis-Hill, Vivian Cheruiyot, Jo Pavey and Chaunte Lowe all are mothers who came back to the sport. Stuart Weir wrote this piece on mothers coming back to our sport and how they fare!
Mother of all come-backs!
Returning mothers have been making the news this week in Beijing, prompting dreadful headlines like the one above. But it has been lovely to have positive issues to focus on.
Jessica Ennis-Hill won Olympic Gold in London 2012 in the heptathlon. She missed the 2013 World Championships through injury and then announced that she was pregnant, giving birth to Reggie in July 2014.
She returned to competition in May 2015, after a 22 month break, but did not commit to competing in Beijing until one month before the event.
When she won the Beijing gold she tweeted: “Wow what an incredible feeling! I still can’t quite believe it. World Champion! I can’t thank my amazing family and team enough!”
She described 2015 as “the hardest year ever. Juggling all my mummy duties and training has just been so hard. It’s hard at the beginning when you’ve got a new born and you’re adjusting to everything”. A few weeks after giving birth she got on a bike and then a few weeks later “picked up a 20kg bar and it was, so heavy. And all these little steps have got me back to being here [Beijing]”. With a gym in the garage at home, she now lifts weights once Reggie’s gone to bed.
Vivian Cheruiyot won the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the 2011 World Championships but could not defend her titles in 2013 because she was pregnant with her son, Allan Kiprono, who was born in October that year. Earlier this year she said: “With my son now big enough, I have intensified my training and it is my prayer I will win something for the first time in his honour”. She has also posted a lovely photo on Facebook of herself running with her son, captioned “Morning run with my son!” With gold in Beijing, her story had a happy ending!
Other running mothers include Jo Pavey of Great Britain who won a European Gold Medal in the 10,000 metres, ten months after giving birth to her second child, also becoming the oldest female European champion in history at the age of 40.
US hurdler, Tiffany Williams is now competing in her 10th year as a mother. At the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, 2012 Chaunte Lowe brought the house down at her winner’s press conference, when she shared that she had spoken to her then 5-year-old daughter, Jasmin, and told her that mom had won. Jasmin replied, “I know that but have you got me the ice-cream you promised?”
The challenges of combining motherhood and athletic competition include finding time to train and remembering to bring home ice-cream.