Athlete Sparks Debate For Breastfeeding Baby At A Grueling Ultramarathon

Breastfeeding mother and baby
Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock

Nearly halfway through one of the world’s most grueling races, Sophie Power stopped at an aid station to breastfeed her 3-month-old son, Cormac.

Power, 36, was running the 105-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) when she was photographed with her infant at the station near the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur. Within days, the photograph had gone around the world and reported on from India to Indianapolis, the Guardian reported.

The British woman was not expecting to return home to the innumerous calls and emails requesting an interview.

“A few days ago i had a call from @strava asking to share this picture and for the story behind it. But this isn’t a story about me. It’s a story about the daily struggle of being a new Mum,” Power wrote in an Instagram post last week. “A story about the need to nurture our babies the best we can. And the importance to prioritise our physical and mental health – to be ourselves as well as be a mother.”

In the photo, Power is seated in a black chair, holding Corman who is feeding on one breast while she pumps from the other. To her right, a male athlete is seen lying on the ground on his back, his feet up against the bench. His presence makes Power look even more striking, more focused. Both had just ran about 50 miles, yet there she was, feeding a tiny human while her fellow athlete took a well-deserved break.

She knew she was being photographed but thought little of it. To her, she was just feeding Cormac and pumping milk. Her husband, John, was nearby trying to convince her to eat an avocado sandwich and going through her things, changing over her head torch batteries, and putting the food in there, she said, as per the Guardian report.

Power said that motherhood probably prepared her to deal with the exhaustion that comes with running a grueling marathon.

“I’d gone through the first night with no sleep, as a lot of runners had. But as a mother I was really prepared for that. In terms of sleep deprivation, I was probably the best trained person on the start line. I’d had 20 minutes’ sleep over two nights. But I was taking the race really gently,” she was quoted by the Guardian.

She finished the UTMB in about 44 hours. The north London woman has run some of the world’s most famous ultra races, including the Marathon des Sables across the Sahara and the 153-mile, non-stop Spartathlon in Greece.

“I have been overwhelmed by the positivity and supportive messages. They are for all mothers for we are all in this together,” she wrote on her Instagram, accompanied by the hashtag #motherhood.