A mother of three young children turned in an exceptional time in the Missoula Marathon last month, a feat that wouldn’t be terribly newsworthy except for the way she did it.
In a rather astonishing display of a mom’s multitasking talents, Cynthia Arnold completed the 26.2-mile race June 30 in 3:11.54 while pushing a three-seat stroller that held her almost 7-, 4- and nearly 2-year-old kids.
All told, she pushed roughly 185 pounds, according to Runner’s World calculations, and it wasn’t because she couldn’t find a sitter. Her thing is setting Guinness world records for running while pushing a three-person stroller, and last year she set the mark for the fastest-half marathon while pushing a three-person stroller at the Missoula Half Marathon. This year, she set her mind toward owning the record for the marathon as well and easily lowered the 4:06:33 record set in 2018 by Ann Marie Cody of Modesto, Calif., aided by shouts of “Go, mom!”
“The crowd was amazingly supportive,” the 35-year-old Polson, Mont., runner told Runner’s World. “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!’”
Her kids napped, snacked and contentedly watch the world — and other runners — go by. “We live in rural Montana and see lots of wildlife on the bike path right out my door,” Arnold told Runner’s World. “I keep a pretty consistent routine and see some regular commuters each day, and the kids like saying hello to the cyclists.”
Arnold knows her days as a stroller-pushing mom are numbered, with daughter Marguerite turning 7 later this summer, and she plans to run a marathon alone this fall. “It’s special because she’s spent her life in the stroller,” Arnold told the Missoulian last month. “It’s just one of those things with time you can’t do any more. Of course you want them to grow up, so it’s bittersweet.”
Maybe the stroller should go in a hall of fame somewhere.
“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 said, “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.”
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