Frida Södermark: “No research shows that it is harmful”
Frida Södermark, 43, became pregnant against all odds.
On Sunday, she will defeat the odds again – and run 100 kilometers nine days before she is expected to become a mother.
– There is nothing I would recommend to anyone, says Södermark.
This week, the American-qualified American Lindsay Flach 18 weeks into her pregnancy.
Despite the fact that Flach did not succeed, her attempt inspired the Swedish ultra-runner Frida Södermark to tell her own news.
On Sunday, she will compete in the Swedish Championships in the distance of 100 kilometers. This week 39 into her pregnancy.
– I have been registered for a long time, but did not want to put myself in a starting list. It can put the wrong pressure from others. Then maybe you push yourself to start even though it does not feel like a hundred. But now I know that the body responded in a good way, she says.
Ran for six hours
Södermark has competed at the WC and participated in all the Swedish Championships since 2012. She is a great advocate and ambassador for Swedish ultra-running. She became pregnant in October, and already had plans to visit this year’s SM edition. The closer the championship crept, the more she felt how it began to creep into her body.
– Around New Year, two and a half months into the pregnancy, the thought came to run. Then I thought “we’ll see how it goes”. The training went unbelievably well so I drove on, she says.
In March, 27 weeks into the pregnancy, Södermark tried to compete in a six-hour race where the goal was to run as far as possible. She managed seven miles – and the Swedish Championship dream felt realistic.
“There is no answer”
But what does the research say about it all? Is it really good to run 100 kilometers when you are so far along in your pregnancy?
– There is really no answer to that. But the fact is that there is not much research at all. It is a common misconception that one must take it easy during pregnancy. Do you have to? And what is calm? I take it easy than I usually do, she says.
Have you consulted a doctor on the road?
– My midwife always knows how much I run. I have asked her all the time during the journey so that there is no danger to the child. It bounces on, and all values are good. Follows the curve. My and the child’s health comes first, but there is nothing to suggest that I did anything stupid to us.
“It was really tough”
However, she clearly wants to emphasize one thing.
– Running ten to fifteen miles a week when you are pregnant is not something I want to encourage others to do. Not if you have not trained the body for it for many years, as I have. What I want to show with this is that it is possible to do the same things when you are pregnant as you normally can, says Södermark.
The baby will be her first, and is scheduled for July 13. Due to Södermark’s age, 43, the birth will be started only a week later if it is delayed. It was a long road to getting pregnant.
– We tried for a long time. There were several failed IVFs, and a journey fraught with miscarriages and other family factors. But it came naturally after all. It was very tough and me and my partner are so happy that it was happiness in the end.
– Then it feels extra fun to be able to do this at the end. To celebrate life with a little person inside another person. So far, so good. Soon on the outside, says Frida Södermark.