Ultrarunner Sophie Power made headlines in 2018 when a photo of her breastfeeding her then 3-month-old son during the 106-mile Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) went viral. Undoubtedly, you’ll have seen the iconic image (below), but you may not know that Sophie had previously lost a place at the 2014 UTMB when pregnant with her first child due to UTMB’s policy on race referral.
Not wanting to lose another opportunity to run UTMB, Sophie (whose race finishes include the Marathon des Sables and the 153-mile Spartathlon) toed the line at the 2018 race – three months after giving birth to baby Cormac and whilst breastfeeding. Since then, she has campaigned for races to allow women to defer their places until they have recovered from pregnancy and childbirth.
Now a mum of three, Sophie continues to share honest accounts of her own experiences of postnatal life, including the challenges that women often face when returning to running after childbirth. Many of these are included in the short film Pregnancy to Performance, made with HOKA, which documents her postpartum return to running following the birth of her daughter, Saoirse, last November.
In this Q&A, we chat about the story behind that UTMB photo, how Sophie fits training into a busy life alongside work, campaigning and three kids, and her mental strategies for approaching tough times in races.