Generation of phenomena. While in Italy the stroller running has a growing number of fans, and – after the opening of the Fidal, that is the Italian Athletics Federation – more and more local and national races has hosted the colors of the Babyrun Team by Pronto Pannolino, the United States confirm their world leadership in this sport, thanks to the extraordinary enterprises of four supermoms, who, within a year, challenged and defeated guinness World Record on the distances of marathon and half marathon, up to break walls that seemed unthinkable.
Really difficult to keep up with an almost incessant succession of exceptional records, all made by pushing a triple stroller. Let’s try to look at them again.
From Theresa, to Ashley up to Ann Marie: how many primates of stroller running!
Let’s jump back. It is June 2017 when the then 38-years-old Theresa Marie Pitts, from Kalispell, Montana, earns the nickname of “flying mom”, having crossed the finish line of the Governor’s Cup half marathon (South Carolina) in 2:01:11 pushing a stroller with 3 of his 8 children on board.
Her challenge earns the headlines of the press all over the world. But for her, who had started running in 2013 to overcome a period of depression, and that in her daily life, as well as sports, is driven by an intense and unshakable faith, that result is only the starting point towards new and more ambitious goals.
A few weeks later, on July 9th 2017, at the Missoula Marathon (Montana), Theresa with her team (4-years-old Evan, 2-years-old Anders and 7-months-old Avrielle) sets the Guinness World record in a marathon while pushing a triple stroller, in 4:25:37. And on September 17th, at the Billings Half Marathon ( in Montana, again) she lowered her previous record in the half, closing the 21 km in 1:57:49.
For the running world, Theresa Marie Pitts becomes the symbol of the stroller running, and she immediately embraces the Babyrun project, accepting to become the international testimonial of the project born to spread the stroller running in Italy. For the newborn Babyrun Team it is an honor to see her wearing the white&blue t-shirt while exhibiting the 3 Guinness World Records achieved in 3 months.
On those plaques are written records time that seem destined to remain unbeaten for a long, long time. But you know, the fate of every record is to be broken. And the one in half marathon collapses just two months later, in November 2017, when Ann Marie Cody of Sunnyvale, California, crossed the finish line of the Fresno Half Marathon in 1:47:59. Of course, her three twins are smaller (and therefore lighter) than the Theresa Team’s children. But this parameter is not taken into account by the GWR. And in any case, the 10 minute gap with which Ann Marie breaks down the already exceptional time of the mother from Montana, do not allow replicas.
Game over? No, of course. Indeed, from this moment on, there is an almost continuous succession of extraordinary challenges and relative primates.
On March 10th 2018, Ashlee Eskelsen, from Tennessee, chased the new record in half marathon pushing a triple stroller, and she got it, by completing the Montgomery Half Marathon (in Alabama) with her 4-years, 2 years and 4 months-old children in 1:47:32. In addition to the age of the children, Ashley has another point in common with Theresa Pitts: strong religious faith.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, immediately after the finish line, she declared to the Alabamanews.net portal that she “prayed with particular intensity, especially in the last kilometers, hoping that the angels could help me to push the stroller, since at no another was allowed to touch the stroller “. Whoever infused her the strength, Ashley managed to reach the goal she had set herself a year ago, running the Boston Marathon while she was 14-week pregnant of her third child.
The tit for tat on the half marathon with Ann Marie Cody, however, is not yet concluded, and, nowadays, is the latter to have the best: in April 2018 during the Silicon Valley Half Marathon, Ann Marie stopped the chronometer on the time of 1:46:13. For the Californian mother it was a triumph. Even more so because on March 11th (following the record on the half marathon, set by Ashlee Eskelsen) Ann Marie had snatched Theresa Marie Pitts the world record in the marathon, closing the legendary 42 km of the Modesto Marathon (California) with an exceptional 4:06:33.
Like Theresa and Ashlee, even the story of Ann Marie has a particularly touching human implication. In fact, the Californian mother has also given a beneficial value to her sporting activities, supporting the neonatal intensive care unit of the El Camino hospital: “It is a way to thank the men and women who took care of my two children and of my daughter during the month that they spent in hospital, having been born about 7 weeks before the end – Cody explained to the American media – And this is – added Ann Marie – certainly more important than a record, although the record pleased me, as I am happy to be able to pass on to other mothers a model of life and training that is healthy and fun, through my example and my children! “.
The titanic enterprise of Cynthia Arnold: monstrous record in a half marathon while pushing a triple stroller
Theresa, Ashley, Ann Marie: exceptional mothers, extraordinary athletes. With them, it seems that the stroller running has reached its maximum expression. Then Cynthia Arnold comes. And time stops. And the stroller running suddenly enters another dimension.
It is July 15th 2018, once again at the Missoula Marathon, and the 34-years-old mother from Polson (Montana) rewrites the story of the half marathon, completing the 21 km in the monstrous time of 1:29:08. The previous records are pulverized. She ran at the average speed of 4’14 “per kilometer, excellent even for those who do not push a stroller with 3 children 6-years, 3-years and 11-months-old on board!
“My husband gave me the idea of trying this record when I was pregnant with our third child,” said Cynthia at Runner’s World.
But, once again, behind the satisfaction for an extraordinary record set in stroller running, there is a message of fun, health and well-being within the family: “If you love sports, this lifestyle should not be sacrificed after your children’s births, and children themselves must learn that it is normal and enjoyable to make these types of choices. For my side, today I do not care of all those details as much as while I was running alone, like wearing socks, the right headband or hat. Now it only matters that children are safe and comfortable in the stroller, and maybe that they learn to love nature, count butterflies, listen to locusts instead of staying home watching cartoons all Saturday morning”.
The new frontiers of chasing records with the jogging stroller
Listening to the stories of Theresa, Ashlee, Ann Marie, Cynthia, we took a trip in the most competitive nature of the stroller running, but also behind the scenes of a discipline that succeeds like few others to integrate the passion for sport with the love for the family and for their children.
The rest is tomorrow story. New chapters just waiting to be written. Maybe by Theresa Marie Pitts, who is pregnant with her ninth child, and is thinking about trying for the first time to set a world record by pushing a quadruple stroller: “I do enjoy a good challenge so I could see myself doing it just for kicks if I found a stroller that would accommodate such a venture!”.
Or, from some of the increasingly numerous Italian stroller runners. Maybe, wearing the uniform of the Babyrun Stroller Running Team…