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Olympian runs in track meet while eight months pregnant

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Reported by Andrew Scot Bolsinger

Olympian Alysia Montano ran her specialty, the 800m in Sacramento, Calif. on Thursday, in a time that was more than 30 second off her personal best, but the crowd gave her a standing ovation anyway.

Montano, a five-time U.S. national champion, competed and finished last, but still thrilled those in attendance because she ran carrying a passenger. Montano is 34 weeks pregnant.

The 28-year-old runner finished in a time of 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds, a far cry from the 1:57;34 she ran back in 2010. But she was running solo then.

“I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy and I felt really, really good during the whole process,” she said.

Montano said she had her doctor’s approval. She ran with her signature flower tied into her hair.

“I just didn’t want to get lapped and be the first person to get lapped in the 800,” said Montano.

Montano has been training and competing since she was a child. She wanted to continue to train during her pregnancy.

“What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby…I did all the things I normally do…I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year,” she said.

She knew she had no chance of winning or running at her best but wanted to take part for the joy of racing, a point she made on her blog after the race.

“Racing is still very enjoyable for me because I’ve been able to think of it like a kid does. They’re so innocent – they’re wanting to win but they’re having fun, too,’ she writes.  “As you get older, it’s easy to put importance on things that really don’t matter and then succumb to that pressure; so I don’t like to get myself wrapped up by talking about competitive goals too much.”

Tell us, do you think it’s safe for a woman to run a race when she is eight months pregnant?  Could this harm the child?

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Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates www.criminalu.co, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at Andrew.Bolsinger@gmail.comand can be followed @CriminalUniv on Twitter.