Montana Mom Breaks the World Record For the Fastest Half Marathon Run With a Three-Child Stroller

A mom runs a race while pushing a stroller with three kids inside


Last weekend, on July 15, 2018, 34-year-old Cynthia Lauren Arnold, of Polson, MT, ran a new world record (still waiting verification by the Guiness Book of World Records) for the fastest half marathon pushing a three-child stroller. Her time of 1:29:09 beat the previous record of 1:47:50 by nearly 20 minutes.

She placed fourteenth overall for women and third in her age group, impressive even without a stroller. But for Arnold, taking the kids on all of her runs is no question. She loves to run and so, she takes them along to share the sport she loves and, hopefully, instill a bit of adventure.

We caught up with Lauren to see just what it takes to run fast with three kids.

How did you feel going into the race?

Before the race I was not confident that I could beat the previous time. I was worried about the wind, which can really hurt your pace when pushing a stroller. But, thankfully there wasn’t really any wind until the last few miles. It’s also hard to turn quickly with a stroller and there were a lot of turns as the race went through neighborhoods. So, that was pretty challenging.

What was your goal time and why did you want to even go after a record like this?

I was hoping to run a 1:40, and I ran 1:29. I went after it because I felt confident that I could beat the previous record, and I also felt like it would be so neat for my kids to know we did this together, especially when they are older.

How did you train?

I do most of my running with a stroller anyway out of necessity. Over the summer I switched to a triple when my daughter wasn’t in school. Most of the time I have one more passenger, Tiny Dog. He’s my little bichon who rides in the basket under the seats. He adds another 20 pounds, though, and dogs aren’t allowed at the race anyway. I also incorporated CrossFit over the winter for additional strength. But other than that, nothing else was different.

What was the process of getting a world record and what are the requirements to qualify? How much did your stroller weigh?

I don’t have the record officially yet; I have to turn in the evidence. There is a lot of paperwork, and I had to have a video camera on the stroller the whole time to prove that I ran it.

There is no weight requirement, only that you have to have three living bodies in the stroller. My kids weigh 50, 30 and 20 pounds. The stroller is 57 pounds. So, all together, the whole setup is over 150 pounds. There also must be at least three wheels on the unit. I had four.

A mom runs a race while pushing a stroller with three kids inside

How do you entertain three kids while running?

They have been in the stroller a lot, so they are used to it. And the race was amazing; people cheered for us the whole way. I’ve also tried really hard to pull away from the habit of providing my kids with constant entertainment. Being in the stroller for runs is a quiet time for them. They can talk to each other and look around, take a nap. I’ve read a lot of research about the benefits of quiet time and children aren’t getting enough of that time anymore, which hurts imagination and creativity.

That being said, none of that was even happening at the race. The atmosphere was amazing; the kids had a great time. We went through a tunnel, over a bridge, we saw horses, a piano player in a field, dogs in costumes … all things that kids love.

I also had snacks and water for them. I tied a rope to the stroller (you can see it in the pictures). It was not to hold the kids in, it was to hold their water bottle and baby chew toys that normally get tossed over on runs.

How did you find the right stroller?

Unfortunately there are very few triples to choose from.

How about the Deena Kastor shoutout?

That was so neat; I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t even know she was there. She is an amazing person and I feel honored, very honored to be acknowledged by her.

How do you balance being a mom with this kind of training? Is it fun taking your kids to ‘work’ with you?

Taking my kids with me is an emotional experience. They get to see everything I do and experience all of the things I get to see on a run. My kids have grown up riding in the stroller. They take all their naps in the stroller, and it’s a comfort to them to gently rock along as the world goes by.

They see all kinds of amazing things on our runs; lots of wild animals, beautiful sunsets, clouds, trees and other people outside. They witness the change of the seasons. We have run all over the country together.

What kind of precedent do you think this sets for your children?

I want them to feel inspired by their childhood. Not many kids get to say they rode a stroller to a world record. I want my kids to know that if you work hard at things you are good at, you can do big things.

What advice would you give moms about running? Especially after returning to running after pregnancy?

Just because you have a kid, it doesn’t mean you should stop doing what you love. Parents often think that since they’ve had kids they can’t do what they want to do and they can’t stay active. Kids shouldn’t change your life that way. Parents can stay active with their kids in the stroller. It’s good for them to see active parents and encourages them to have a healthy lifestyle when they grow up. I used to go on 12 mile runs with my baby and would have to stop and nurse on the side of the road, then keep going. Your runs are less planned, but they are still possible.

By Allie Parker. Parker is a rising senior at Virginia Tech where she studies Political Science, Pre-law and runs marathons.