Australian long-distance runner Ellie Pashley is ready to take on Mount Panorama having given birth to her first child Tiggy just seven months ago.
- The World Athletics Cross Country Championship begins today in Bathurst
- Ellie Pashley is competing seven months after giving birth to her first child
- Emma Coburn is competing a month after losing her mother to cancer
Ms Pashley will be among competitors at the World Athletics Cross Country Championship being held at Bathurst in central west New South Wales this weekend.
“It has been nice for me to get back into running after having a baby, you get to do something for yourself and have your own time, I think that is really important for mental health,” Ms Pashley said.
“Hopefully it inspires other women to get out there and do something for themselves; it certainly is more challenging once you have kids but it shouldn’t stop you from doing it.”
Ms Pashley said she was competing in the 10-kilometre cross country event that involved running across sand, mud and over obstacles.
“It is quite a painful race compared to running on the roads or track, it is also quite mentally hard,” she said.
“Rumour has it that this is the hardest world cross country course that they have had in the last 30 years, there are no real flat sections, you are either going up or down.”
The 34-year-old qualified sixth for the Australian squad, describing the trials as “one of the hardest races” she had done after her pregnancy.
Ms Pashley said getting ready for the gruelling event had been a challenging process.
“It was pretty slow going, I was very unfit at the start, six weeks after I had the baby I started running and walking and then built up from there,” she said.
“It takes a while and I really think it is going to take more than 12 months before I feel like I am back to where I was pre-baby.”
Inspired by loss
American long distance runner Emma Coburn lost her mother Annie to cancer a month ago after a three-year fight with the disease.
Ms Coburn said her mother wanted her to compete at the championship.
“Her wish for me was that I just keep running, that was one of her favourite things in her life was my running,” Ms Coburn said.
“It was definitely physically and emotionally challenging to go through that loss but I ran every day through her hospital care and after her passing, I really tried to remember that what she wants is for me to be strong and to carry on.”
Ms Coburn said running had helped her mourn.
“I hope I can make her proud and me just participating, it is a big first step in continuing my career without her here,” she said.