I am thrilled to announce a research study I've been involved with that is studying pregnancy in elite female distance runners. I've been involved as both a researcher and participant in collaboration with a team from the University of Ottawa.
Our main objective is to find out what types of training elite female runners engaged in before, during and after pregnancy.
Our online survey can be found at the link below and we would greatly appreciate it if 1)any readers who qualify would take the survey or 2) pass it on to anyone they know who may meet our inclusion criteria or 3) Tweet out the link to the study!
“To take part in the study you must have been pregnant and given birth within the past 5 years and run faster than one of the following standards:
3,000m steeplechase: 10:48.89
A second objective of the study is to look at some of the social factors surrounding pregnancy for elite female distance runners,—including other people's perceptions of their activity during pregnancy and issues around sponsorships/contracts. We conducted phone interviews with a highly elite group of women and recorded their responses. Results of those interviews will be presented at the 2015 ISSA World Congress of Sociology of Sport in France.
One of the very first people I met off the plane when I arrived at Providence College as a fresh-faced freshman, was Canadian Francine Darroch. We both ran for the D1 XC team. She was an academic ace. I enjoyed my psychology and sociology classes, and even thought I might like to be a researcher until I had a (brief) internship as a research assistant and quickly realized I didn't suit the bill; my head and my heart wanted to pursue professional running. I assumed that was end of my road as a researcher, instead I'd sit back and enjoy reading about other people's studies....
Fast forward 10 years, I became an Olympian and mother of 2, and Francine became a researcher, working at the World Health Organization and is pursuing her Phd. She recently became a mother too :) Over a coffee catch-up 2 years ago, I shared my theories that elite female runners were a specific population that even the best informed doctors couldn't advise in regards to pregnancy. I had many sisters-in-sport that had become mothers-in-sport, and it was those ladies from whom I sought advice when I became pregnant for the first time. The only studies I could find about endurance athletes and pregnancy were based on Norwegian cross-country skiers! Upon hearing this, Francine's face lit up! She had experience working with the Canadian Aboriginal women, her doctoral research is pregnancy education in this population . Francine knew right then that she had the brains and the skills to actually test out some theories I had brewing. That conversation became the beginning of this study.
Francine and her now husband, Olympic marathoner, Dylan Wykes, and their research team from the University of Ottawa, have worked tirelessly on creating this legit bona fide research study. Thus far we've had participation from global superstars, Olympians, national record holders, with 63 World Championship appearances between them! The larger the population of participants the stronger the study becomes, so that's why we are actively recruiting more participants. If you fit the bill, or know somebody that does, we'd love you to share this blog or the link to the study:
Stay in the conversation!
We have created a closed Facebook group "Mothers On Track" to share our findings, relevant research and articles for fit, fast and pregnant women and mothers. We hope to create a secure community for fast runners to share experiences, raise questions, and share current research. Join the conversation here.
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact the researchers:
Francine Darroch, MEd, MPH, PhD (Cand.)
School of Human Kinetics
University of Ottawa
1 613 203-2002