Running a mile under six minutes is a feat of athleticism for most people — doing it while 9 months pregnant is nothing short of amazing. That's exactly what Makenna Myler, 28, of Heber, Utah did and the video of her feat is going viral on TikTok.
Myler's husband, Mike Myler, 29, shared the video which shows his wife running a 5:25 mile on TikTok last week and it's since gotten close to 700,000 views.
"A Mile at 9 Months Pregnant," Myler captioned the video of Makenna running laps around a track, her pregnant belly on full view.
"It's a big belly," Mike comments as his wife runs by on her first lap.
"Let's go kiddo, nice and smooth," he says as she passes him on her second lap.
Makenna, who has run competitively since high school, told TODAY that running while pregnant was not without its challenges.
"The weight really does a number on my cadence," she said. "The first 2.5 laps were pretty comfy from training, but from there my form turned into more of an emperor penguin style — side to side as well as forward motion."
Myler said she ran in college at BYU but really found her groove after graduating, running as an elite athlete for Valor Track Club.
"My body is used to high mileage and supplementary strength training," she said.
"FIVE MINUTES??! It takes me longer to decide what I want on my tacos," one user quipped.
Someone else asked, "Aren't you not supposed to run when pregnant?"
And while many viewers of the video have questioned the safety of her running so fast while pregnant, Myler told TODAY that her doctors gave her the go-ahead.
"Both doctors I've worked with have been more than happy, and even encouraging with my regimen," she said.
Alyssa Dweck MD, a gynecologist in Westchester County, New York told TODAY that the general rule of thumb when it comes to exercise during pregnancy is that it's usually reasonable to continue your normal routine unless your doctor has given you different orders.
"I'm not her doctor but from watching this, she appears to be a healthy, athletic woman. Hopefully she’s taking in enough calories to do what she’s doing and hydrating."
Dweck said that in the past there used to be hard guidelines regarding exercise during pregnancy but that now it's more a matter of women not over-exerting themselves. "The caveat is you really need to hydrate," she said. "People get clumsy during pregnancy, and joints can get lax, so it's also important to be careful of falling," she noted, saying that common sense rules.
Makenna always hoped to continue running for as long as she could, but when Mike bet her she wouldn't be able to run a mile in under 8 minutes in her ninth month, it was game on.
"Neither of us had any idea what to expect during a pregnancy," Makenna said. "We've always heard I'd just kind of shut down as I got further in. In month two, Mike was convinced running an 8-minute mile in my ninth month was a pipe dream, so when I bet him I'd run a 7-min mile, he put $100 dollars down, and gave me an extra minute," she said, clarifying that the bet was all in fun as the two share a joint bank account.
Makenna said her friends and family weren't that surprised by her accomplishment as they are quite familiar with the ways she trains. "I think they were more impressed by the TikTok views," she said. "However, I think the mile put the entirety of my training into perspective for people close to me. I hope it inspires women, just as I was inspired by other pregnant athletes, to pursue goals in spite of what the status quo says we ought to pursue."
Makenna, who is due Oct. 19, said it's empowering to see the comments on the video and that she especially loves the commenters who have jumped to her defense when others have criticized her running so close to giving birth.
Mike, who cheers her on throughout the video, said that he's proud of his wife and that their relationship has always centered around exercising together.
He said, "Most people don't get to fathom how much faster Makenna is than the average person, but I do because I see the backs of her heels so often."