Sidmouth mum secures podium finish in marathon
PUBLISHED: 19:01 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:06 01 June 2017
A Sidmouth mum has shown women can do anything after gaining a podium place in the first female only marathon nine weeks after giving birth. Jessica Raynor came second in the inaugural Women Can event on Sunday, completing the course in three hours and 53 minutes.
The keen runner gave birth to her fourth child Artie and decided to enter the race after he turned four weeks old.
The 32-year-old said: “If I hadn’t been running I do no think I would have done it. I would usually prepare for four months as you have to put effort in. I never stopped running during my pregnancies I manage a certain level.
“I just run accordingly and as I was getting bigger and bigger I would slow down or run less miles. I manage it because it takes so long to get back into it and I was so luck that I could do it through all of my pregnancies.
“I do wish that I did a bit quicker but it was so hot and so hard and given my circumstances it is great. I would love to do it again and do it in three hours and 45 minutes.
“It’s been a brilliant event, amazingly marshalled. If there was another one I reckon I’d do it again.”
The event was organised by Jo Earlam to mark 50 years since Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon in 1967 - despite rules saying women could not participate.
Some 400 women took on the 26 mile course from Tipton St John playing field taking in the sights of the Otter and Sid Valleys.
Jo, who is from Tipton St John, said: “It was absolutely incredible. When I came up with the idea 12 months ago, somebody said we’d probably only get half a dozen entries.
“So to have 400 women from across the country and around the world come and take part is beyond my wildest dreams. The amount of positive support has been totally overwhelming. And it’s just been a wonderful, wonderful day.”
The race was backed by Olympian Jo Pavey and also became the first UK partner event for Kathrine Switzer’s non-profit social women’s running movement, 261 Fearless.
Organisers were also raising awareness and money for Free to Run, an international charity which has programmes to enable women to take part in sport in countries where traditionally, women are banned from doing so.