Stephanie Bruce on running while pregnant: “It doesn’t have to make sense to everyone”

"This is a gift–to be out doing what I love while growing a baby," Bruce says.

American marathoner Stephanie Bruce is not letting pregnancy slow her down. In May, 18 weeks into her third pregnancy, Bruce was the top female finisher at the Big Sur 12K in 45:41, coming in second overall, only a minute behind first place.

Known for her upfront talk about post-pregnancy running after the birth of her other two children, Bruce has been sharing social media updates chronicling the joys and challenges of running (and racing) while pregnant, noting, “It doesn’t have to make sense to everyone.”

Bruce has had a prolific career in cross-country, representing the U.S. twice at the World Cross Country Championships, in 2017 and 2019. Bruce was the second American behind Emma Bates at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, where she ran her personal best time of 2:27:47, and she had a 10th place finish at the NYC Marathon in November (2:31:05). She has spent the last decade training with Ben Rosario’s Hoka NAZ Elite team in Flagstaff, Ariz.

In January 2022, Bruce announced she would be retiring at the end of the season, after she was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition called bicuspid aortic valve disease (BAVD), a dysfunction of the aorta valve limiting the amount of blood flowing from your heart to the body.

A few months later, in what she called “the pivot,” she changed her mind, sharing on her blog that “after a period of deep reflection–now I have had a change of heart. I am not ready to hang up my racing shoes.”

A few months later, Bruce announced her pregnancy. The athlete plans to return to racing competitively after her baby is born and has been documenting her journey to inspire others. Bruce says still she can still run reps between a 3:00 and 3:30 min/km pace, but is finding turning over in bed is becoming difficult. In her third trimester, she says that she misses competing.

Bruce explains her goal in sharing her pregnant running experience: “To show women our bodies can handle it, if we choose, not everyone and that’s ok if we stay on the couch and don’t feel motivated. Every pregnancy experience is different and I am simply sharing how mine is playing out.”

Bruce recently published a book, written with Rosario, titled Follow Your Heart, The Story of Stephanie Bruce’s Not-So-Final Season.

posted Monday July 17th
by Keeley Milne