The five-time national champion finished in 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds in the qualifying rounds, only seven weeks before she’s scheduled to give birth to her first child.
That the 28-year-old former University of California star finished last in her heat didn’t matter one bit to the crowd gathered at Hornet Stadium. Trailing the lead pack by more than 120 meters for most of the race, Montaño received a rousing ovation as she finished her first lap, and the cheering grew louder when she finally crossed the finish line.
“I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy, and I felt really, really good during the whole process,” Montaño said. “I just didn’t want to get lapped and be the first person to get lapped in the 800.”
Montaño, who won the 800 national titles the past four years, was never in danger of being lapped. She took a nice relaxed pace from the start and maintained it throughout. That was according to the plan Montaño laid out after consulting with her physician. Not only did doctors give Montaño permission to run, they encouraged her.
“That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy,” Montaño said. “What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby. I did all the things I normally do, I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year.”