Jasmine Paris, a British ultra marathon competitor officially became the first women to ever win the Montane Spine Race that runs along England’s Penine Way. She completed the grueling 268-mile race through the rugged mountaintops of the National trail that spans across the United Kingdom. Starting from Derbyshire in Central England to the Scotland border, Paris crushed the course record; which was previously held by a man by 12 hours faster; finishing in 83 hours, 12 minutes, and 23 seconds – all while stopping throughout the course to pump breast milk for her baby. She led the race by about 10 miles ahead of the runner who took second place.
A 35-year-old veterinarian living in Edinburgh, Scotland, Paris told BBC that although she had enough frozen milk to feed her 14-month-old daughter, Rowan, while she was competing in the race, she had to meet her husband at 4 of the 5 checkpoints to pump so as to prevent mastitis, an inflammation of breast tissue.
“I had thought I would have stopped breastfeeding by this point and tried when Rowan was 1, but over Christmas she got two viruses and I had to go back to feeding her multiple times throughout the night to soothe her,” Paris said.
On a blog post dated January 5, Paris spoke of the difficulties to return to competitive running after giving birth to Rowan, as well as all the injuries she was dealing with while sleep deprived.
“I found it harder and harder to leave my bed for the cold darkness outside, and realised that I needed a new focus,” Paris wrote.
As a self-motivation, she registered herself to the Spine Race, a competition known as the most grueling in the world due to the challenges in the course spanning an altitude of 43,000 feet on a 268-mile-trail.
“Everything is starting to hurt now but it’s not that far anymore,” Paris said during the ultra marathon, according to race officials. “Once I get to the finish, I’ll have my little girl there.”
When Paris reached the finish line and finally saw her baby, she was elated. “She was very bemused to see me on the finish line and has been very clingy today as if she is thinking I might go away again,” Paris told the BBC.