On June 30, 2019, Cynthia Arnold shattered a world record at the Missoula Marathon. The Montana mom ran the marathon in 3 hours and 11 minutes while pushing her three children in a triple stroller. The previous world record was 4 hours and 6 minutes. Between the stroller and her three children, she was pushing a total of 185 pounds. But this mom is no stranger to breaking world records. In 2018, Arnold broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest half-marathon while pushing a three-person stroller, also at the Missoula Marathon, when her children weighed significantly less. (1)

How She Did It

Arnold began training for the 2019 marathon in the winter of 2018 and ran a practice marathon in February 2019 in addition to 20-mile training runs in preparation for the event. Most of her runs were done solo, and when the stroller did come, they were limited mostly to 10-mile outings. According to Arnold, her children enjoy the runs as much as she does. (1)

After running her record-breaking half marathon there, Missoula was a natural pick for her marathon record attempt. “The atmosphere is perfect for the family, it is the perfect combination of beautiful country scenery and urban crowds in downtown Missoula,” she said. “The crowd was amazingly supportive. I was moved by how many people were cheering for me and knew what my goal was on race day. One woman called out ‘I’ve been reading about you all year. Go mom!’” (1)

Marathon, Marathon mom

Benefits Of Running

Running, a high intensity, aerobic activity, provides a host of health benefits. A 2013 study found shorter-term aerobic exercise, like running, improves brain health, cognition, and cardiovascular fitness in otherwise healthy aging adults. Regular exercise of this nature in sedentary adults can increase blood flow to the hippocampus, the area of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The reported “runner’s high” is also backed by science. Experts believe intense endurance activity leads to an increase in endocannabinoids that signal pleasure. Running also reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, even as little as five to ten minutes per day and slow speeds. (2, 3, 4)

Exercising With Kids

While running has its obvious benefits, exercising with your kids can provide even more. When you lead an active lifestyle, it helps inspire your children to be active and creates a positive association with exercise from early on. It also helps motivate busy parents to prioritize their fitness when they can include their child(ren) in the activity instead of having to make childcare arrangements.

A parent and child class can help parents and young children bond. Furthermore, playing in the pool can make exercise fun for the whole family! Many kids like to dance, which can also be a high-intensity aerobic activity for all ages. Children are naturally flexible and can easily take up yoga, which is also a great stress reliever for mom and dad. If you have older children, running or biking as a family is a great way to exercise together and explore local scenic areas you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. Picking up a family sport could be another option. Not only does it foster physical activity, but can help improve communication and teamwork among family members. This marathon-running mom certainly has her kids off to a great start! (5)

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