US athlete Alysia Montaño is inspiring enough, what with being an elite sportswoman with a string of medals to her name and all.
But she’s gaining even more fans after her last 800m run, for which she happened to be five months pregnant.
Alysia Montaño finished seventh in her heat at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships, and posted a picture of herself in her running gear on Instagram, which has to date received more than 56,000 likes.
She writes: “About last night... 2017 USA Nationals with baby #2 at 5 months pregnant. I have some pretty awesome maternity photos from both pregnancies #Wonderwoman #ShesAllOFUS #beyourjourney”
And she did it wearing a Wonder Woman top, to boot.
She told The Washington Post that she wasn’t trying to shame pregnant women who choose not to exercise, but was simply making the choice that was right for her.
“This isn’t to pressure women to run during pregnancy. That’s not the point at all,” she said. “We’re just different and that’s the point.”
It’s not the first time Montaño, 31, has made headlines for her pregnancy exercise. The sports star, who describes herself in her Twitter bio as “that pregnant runner”, ran the same event in June 2014 while 34 weeks pregnant.
She and husband/manager Louis Montano welcomed their first child, daughter Linnea, in August the same year.
Montaño told teamusa.org that despite having proven back then that running while pregnant was of no consequence to her or her daughter’s health, she felt she still needed to stand up for her decision.
“It’s still a conversation that needs to be had. I represent so many different people: women, black women, pregnant women. It’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and an advocate for them.”
And if proof were needed that women are still judged for their pregnancy choices, a quick look at the comments section of her Instagram post confirms the fact, awash as it is with a sudden wealth of maternity and sports experts incredibly concerned for her unborn child.
While some expressed concerns she might “fall over” and the more general “That can't be good for the baby” worry, others accused the elite athlete of “playing with fire” because it could “disturb” her unborn child – lucky for Montaño, they also generously advised that “she can walk not run”. Phew.
Even fellow runners couldn’t resist adding their two penn’orth, with Brenda Martinez, who placed first in the race, saying, “I just hope she’s careful.”
However there were also more than enough online supporters hailing her as “goals”, “badass” and “inspirational” to shoot down the negative responses.
One fan chimed in: “This woman is an Olympian! That basically means she is super human.”
Another pointed out: “When Alysia's daughter is running in the Olympics, she can have a good laugh at the self-appointed experts who know more about running while pregnant than Alysia and her doctor.”
Someone else summed it up: “The thing is she is a professional runner just jogging 2 laps I think she has a handle on the situation.”
It was clear she’d achieved her goal of representing women who want to continue training during pregnancy too, as one user revealed it had inspired her to see Montaño run back in 2014: “I ran my entire 2nd pregnancy and took some slack for it, but then news broke that you ran at USAs when pregnant with Linnea. Can't tell you how awesome it was to see someone with your platform debunking the myths about running and exercise while pregnant.
“Keep it up lady! You make us all proud.”
And that Wonder Woman top? Montano said it was a tribute to the star of the film, Gal Gadot, because the actor had reaffirmed her own commitment to work.
“I wanted Wonder Woman to represent me. When I found out [Gadot] filmed half the movie five months pregnant, I said, ‘I for sure am signing up for USA nationals.’”
Images: instagram.com/alysiamontano / Rex Features