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Cynthia Arnold is a gun. The 35-year-old mother finished the Missoula Marathon in Missoula, Montana, in just 3-hours, 11-minutes all while pushing her three children in a stroller.
According to Runner’s World magazine, Arnold unofficially holds the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon ran while pushing a triple-person stroller.
In order to break the previous record, she needed to run 42km in 4-hours, 6-minutes – but she managed to beat that time by a significant amount.
Arnold’s three kids – aged six, four and one – combine to weigh approximately 59kg, bringing the total to about 84kg when taking the stroller into account.
But it’s not the first time she’s broken an incredible record. Last year, she broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest half marathon while pushing a three-person stroller at the Missoula Half Marathon. So naturally, she set herself a bigger goal this year.
How she trained for the marathon
The mother-of-three started training for the marathon during the US winter season. She participated in a trail marathon in February and a series of 32km training runs alone. When she did load up the stroller with her kids, they were usually limited to 16km, plus one 27km run.
Arnold told Runner’s World her kids also enjoy the run.
“We live in rural Montana and see lots of wildlife on the bike path right out my door,” Arnold said. “I keep a pretty consistent routine and see some regular commuters each day, and the kids like saying hello to the cyclists.”
Although it only took a few months of training for Arnold to accomplish the entire 42km, running expert and co-founder of Flow Athletic, Ben Lucas, says anyone training for such a goal would need “at least six months” of solid cardio and strength training.
“You wouldn’t just be running to train, you would also have to work on your core strength, your glute strength and your posture so weight training would be a must,” Lucas explains. “Pushing this much weight hunched over can cause a massive injury so ensuring that you remain upright with a strong core is imperative.”
Moreover, he points out Arnold’s body would’ve still been in the process of recovery after giving birth to her youngest child, making it even more “impressive” that she was able to achieve such a goal.
“For starters, women are generally told not to run for a year after having a baby when they are recovering, so that would make it pretty hard to train. Plus, most people struggle to get through a marathon at the best of times, let alone pushing that much weight as they do it.”
He notes that anyone wanting to achieve a marathon while pushing 84kg should “start training a year out, six months minimum” where all strengthening factors are taken into consideration.
Now Arnold has reached her goal, she plans to run a marathon on her own at the end of this year – but it doesn’t mean she’s leaving her stroller days behind her.
“I was laughing with my husband about throwing the stroller into a ditch or off a cliff, you know, say goodbye to that heavy old thing,” she told Runner’s World.
“But I would never really do that. I tear up when I think any day could be the last day my oldest daughter goes for a run in the stroller. She can ride her bike while I run now.”
And although she may have walked away holding another record, she says the whole experience has made running alone feel like an absolute breeze.
“Running alone in a race is so simple now,” Arnold said. “It’s interesting to me how my perspective has changed as I have grown as a mother. I used to really stress so much about racing, and now it’s sort of the last thing I’m thinking about.”