Not only does super mom Cynthia Arnold run marathons and half marathons, she runs them in a record-breaking time — while pushing her three kids in a stroller.
Arnold, who recently broke the record for the fastest marathon run while pushing a three-person stroller, has been running for most of her life. When she became a mom, she started bringing her kids along.
“I ran track and cross country in high school and in college I ran cross country,” she tells PEOPLE. “I kept running after I graduated and really enjoyed doing trail running and trail racing.”
After she had her first child, a daughter, Arnold, 35, says she bought a running stroller “right away” and started running with her.
Arnold had two more kids and, in 2018, she broke the half marathon record for running with all three of her young children in a triple stroller. One year later, she did the same with the full 26.2 miles at the Missoula, Montana marathon — clocking in at a staggering three hours and eleven minutes, though her time is still pending official acknowledgement from Guinness World Records.
At the time of the marathon, her kids were ages 1, 3 and 6. Arnold says, for the most part, they all “enjoy” the experience of riding along with their mom while she trains, and that she normally only takes them for her shorter runs.
“I generally would run when they needed to take a nap,” Arnold explains. “And they would just fall asleep in the stroller … It kind of went from that to being, if they aren’t taking a nap, maybe it’s just time for them to sit down and have some quiet time and they’ll just be in the stroller. That definitely helps.”
“We live in rural Montana and we see a lot of wildlife on our runs, and there is a lot of things for the kids to look at,” she continues. “We always see tons of deer, we see foxes, coyotes, they really do enjoy that and they enjoy looking for that kind of stuff.”
During the record-breaking marathon, Arnold says, her kids loved seeing all the people on the sidelines cheering them on, and played I Spy and told jokes with their father, who rode on a bike alongside them.
“Because there was so much activity and excitement at the race, they did really well at the race,” she says. “And they knew what we were doing. We had talked about it a lot.”
The mother of three was featured in a Runner’s World article after she broke the record, and says she heard from parents who were worried about keeping her kids in the stroller for that long.
“What people were worried about at the race was that I wouldn’t let my kids go to the bathroom, or they were starving to death or they were somehow uncomfortable,” she says. “I told my kids, ‘Anytime that you need to go to the bathroom, we’ll stop.’ They never did have to go to the bathroom, but I did bring water and food; they had lots of snacks in the stroller.”
“There’s an ice cream shop right at the finish line,” she adds, laughing. During the race, she told her kids, “You’re gonna get this giant scoop of ice cream as big as your head, just sit still for a little bit longer!'”
Is she planning on breaking any more records in the near future? Arnold says that her daughter is now in second grade and is starting to get too big for the stroller, but there are “a couple more distances for the triple stroller” that she might like to compete in.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” she says.
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