About year after my second child was born, I decided to take up running. I had always been a walker, and had taken many walks while baby-wearing my kids or pushing them in strollers. But I got the running itch for some reason (probably partly to relieve the stress of parenting two young, rowdy boys), so I went online and purchased a jogging stroller.
I thought I was pretty badass jogging around my neighborhood for a few miles while pushing my little tyke in his stroller. And I was, along with so many other amazing multi-tasking mamas out there, who find ways to take care of their health while simultaneously parenting little ones every day. But one incredible mom has taken this feat to a whole new level.
Meet Theresa Marie Pitts, a mom of 8 from Kalispell, Montana: According to Runner’s World, Pitts broke a Guinness World Record this past July when she ran the Missoula Marathon while pushing three of her kids in a 150 lbs. triple stroller. That’s right — 150 lbs.
I’m going to give you a sec to let that sink in …
First of all, this mom — who has already birthed a total of eight children — ran a freaking marathon. That’s 26.2 miles of running, people! No big deal, huh? And mind you, this was her first full marathon ever and she did it with her three youngest kids in tow (4-year-old Evan, 2-year-old Anders and 5-month-old Avi) — while pushing her tank of a triple stroller.
All that, and she beat the Guinness World Record, running the marathon in 4 hours and 25 minutes, which was five minutes faster than the previous record of 4 hours, 30 minutes.
Of course, Pitts seems to take it all in stride, and doesn’t quite realize what a total hero she is. More than anything, she says that during the marathon she was simply focused on keeping good time, not rushing through the race — and, of course, making sure her kids stayed content.
“To survive the whole thing, I knew I had to keep a very steady pace,” Pitts tells Runner’s World. She shares that she had to stop two times along the way to tend to her kiddos. Six miles in, she had to buckle 2-year-old Anders back into his seat. And at the 8 mile mark, she needed to burp baby Avi.
Again, no big deal for this superhero mom.
Pitts admits that there was a tough patch during the marathon (from my knowledge almost all marathoners get to point like this). At about 20 miles in, she began to feel a bit unwell, and was in a heightened amount of pain.
“I had to dig deep and push very hard,” Pitts told Runner’s World. That’s when she noticed a runner near her who was also struggling. The two runners helped each other out of that difficult spot, and ultimately both got themselves to the end of the race with their strength and spirits intact.
“I started encouraging him and saying, ‘Let’s do this,'” Pitts tells the magazine. “The more I encouraged him, the more inspired I felt myself.”
It seems that Pitts is a master at pep talks, and her own fantastic attitude is what got her through every one of those 26 miles.
“This was my first full marathon. I had no idea what to expect,” she tells Babble. “There were so many things that could go wrong, but I chose to stay positive and focus on all that could go right. I was just going to get out there and try my very best and have fun with the adventure ahead.”
I think it’s safe to say that Pitts’ attitude worked extremely well — and that her positive spirit is totally infectious, not to mention incredibly impressive.
But it doesn’t end there. It turns out Pitts recently broke another Guinness World Record just a month ago. That’s when she ran a half marathon in Helena, Montana (with her triple stroller in tow, of course) and clocked in with a time of 2:01:11, beating the previous record.
Honestly, I’m still stuck on the fact that this busy mom of eight finds any time at all to make it out of her house with her sneakers tied, let alone run marathons AND beat Guinness World Records.
Even more impressive? Pitts shares that she didn’t even take running up until 2013. Following a period of depression, she was looking for a way to “get back on track mentally, physically and spiritually.” Running soon became her salvation, and she was hooked.
At first, she would jog with her youngest two in a double stroller, but then when her baby was born this past winter, Pitts took the plunge and bought the triple stroller.
And when Pitts decided to challenge herself to beat the half- and full-marathon records this year, she didn’t think twice about including her kids.
“I looked at it as if I was simply touring the countryside with my children on a beautiful summer morning. I figured it was better than sitting at home watching YouTube videos,” Pitts shares with Babble. (And boy, can all of us moms out there relate: it’s YouTube or bust at my house, too.)
“I don’t believe there is a more important job in this world, and nothing else brings more joy to my heart, than being a mother,” Pitts tells Babble. “So, in celebration of life and motherhood, I chose to include my children on this marathon adventure. The children and I love our stroller adventures together.”
In the end, Pitts’ hope is that her determined and positive spirit will rub off on her kids.
“My purpose in these races is to not only set an example for my children of mental toughness and help them develop the attitude of ‘No excuses. I can do hard things!’” Pitts tells Babble.
And it’s not just her children she hopes to inspire — it’s all of us.
“Those who are close to me know my heart and know I want to do good with the gifts given me,” says Pitts. “My ultimate endeavor is to be able to share what I’ve learned about overcoming adversity, achieving and maintaining whole-health and happiness, triumphing over our demons, and turning our weaknesses into our very strengths.”
As far as I’m concerned, Pitt has succeeded 100 percent. If her story doesn’t just make you want to go out there, follow your heart, and give life your all, I don’t know what will. So huge congrats to Pitts for running marathons, breaking records, reminding us about the boundless powers of moms — and inspiring us all to follow our dreams, no matter what challenges we face.