Inspiring Runners. Loving Mothers

Inspiring Mothers - Inspirating runners

In the lead up to Mothers Day we wanted to admire three inspiring mums who run at an elite level.

Nova Peris

Mum to Jessica (25), Destiny (13) and Jack (11)

Nova Peris won an Olympic gold medal for Hockey in 1996 making her the first Aboriginal Australian to win an Olympic gold medal. In 2000 she switched to athletics and won gold medals in the 200 metre sprint and 4 x 100 metre relay in the Commonwealth Games. In 2013 she became the first indigenous Australian woman to be elected into federal parliament.

On motherhood: "I felt worthless because for so long [I was] a high achiever. And those highs were like a drug. It was euphoric in the sporting field. And then you're home: not that being a mother isn't an amazing thing, but you've got crying babies, demanding babies and sleepless nights. It was tough. I struggled with [the concept of permanent medication] for about a month. Then I woke up and thought, God, just get over it, deal with it. If this is the worst that could have happened: a lot of bad things have happened to a lot of other people."

On being a single mum with a toddler: “[Jessica]  was up in the stand. I'd just take food, take her little bike, take colouring-in books. And if I was training, if she needed to go to the toilet, if one of the Hockeyroo girls were close by, you know, they'd run off the field to take her to the toilet or the lady at reception at the sports institute would look after her. And I remember on Tuesday nights we'd have psychology meetings and Jessie would be sitting under the table colouring in.”

Cathy Freeman

Mum to daughter Ruby (3)

This former Australian sprinter is currently ranked as the sixth fastest woman of all time. She has won numerous gold medals at the Olympics for the 400 metres where her personal best is 48:63. She is a national treasure and was awarded Australian of the Year in 1998 and Medal of the Order of Australia in 2001. Since retiring in 2003 she has become involved in a huge range of charitable activities.  

On motherhood: “[It’s] amazing but hands down, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. It's way harder [than the Olympics], hand on heart … It's the pressure, the judgment. I feel such judgment but I think it's natural and normal to feel it because you care. It's not only from midwives but from my family and my mother and my aunts … I decided when Rubester was about 10 weeks old that it was unfair I was making her fit in with my schedule. I've dealt with expectation my whole life, so I'm very careful of not putting expectations on my own child, I'm very mindful to not push.''

Paula Radcliffe

Mum to daughter Isla (8) and son Raphael (5)

English long distance runner, Paula Radcliffe, has just retired after running the 2015 London Marathon. In 2003 she ran the world record marathon time of 2:15:25. Ten months after her first pregnancy she won the New York City Marathon with a time of 2:23:09. A year after her second pregnancy she came third in the Berlin Marathon.  

On motherhood: “I think that becoming a mother gave me a better perspective on many things and made me realise that some of the things that in the past felt like priorities really weren’t. You soon realise that life changes with you and routine is key. I will always be a runner. My kids have never known a life without running in it, and spending time outdoors with them will always mean that some kind of running is going on.”

Who inspires you? Please let us know in the comments below.