For the first time in 25 years, an American woman has won the female division of the IRONMAN World Championships. Her name is Chelsea Sodaro, and she’s a 34-year-old new mom.
Sodaro recently won the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in the professional woman’s division, Fox News reports.
The race is a 140.6-mile journey, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and then for the cherry on top: a marathon – a 26.2-mile run.
According to the IRONMAN website, it’s a “legendary course that takes athletes through the barren lava fields that the Island of Hawai’i provides [and is] the setting for the ultimate test of strength, grit and heart.”
Sodaro won the race by nearly 10 minutes, with a time of 8:33:46, compared to second place Lucy Charles-Barclay, who finished in 8:42:22. Sodaro finished the swim in 54:48, the bike portion in 4:42:08 and the marathon with a time of 2:51:45.
On January 21, 2021, Sodaro – visibly pregnant – wrote a tweet speaking to her preborn child.
“Hey, little sunbeam,” Sodaro said. “Motherhood doesn’t have to be the end to a pro sports career but rather a beautiful phrase of the journey.”
In a recent interview, Sodaro advocated for professional athletic organizations to support motherhood as a complement to training professionally.
“What’s been so challenging in the past, when women get married, when they get pregnant, it’s considered the kiss of death to your athletic career and what the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) is doing is saying ‘No. We value you. You are incredible athletes. We want you here. You matter. We want to support you so that you can find out how good you can be.’
“Women peak in our mid to late thirties in this long stuff and so we need the opportunities to be able to stay in the sport,” Sodaro said. She added:
We shouldn’t have to choose between being world class athletes and being moms. We can do it both. We just need some support.
Sodaro said that training during her pregnancy was very difficult. “I want to be clear about my struggles,” she said. “Just because I’ve had this success, it doesn’t get easier. I don’t want people to feel it’s all good now. I’m not superwoman.”
She went on to credit her family and her husband for the reason of her victory, disclosing that she had tried to quit training for the triathlon a lot of times after giving birth. “But he wouldn’t let me. He just kept on believing in me,” she said.
Sodaro is planning to defend her title next year, Fox News notes.
“Winning Kona is a dream come true,” she said. “I was immediately greeted at the finish line by my husband and 18-month-old daughter.”
Congratulations to Chelsea on achieving this incredible feat.
Not many people can say they’ve won an IRONMAN. But all moms who heroically sacrifice their time, energy and substantial portions of their lives for their children and family – they do deserve the title “superwoman.”
Photo from Getty Images.