On Sunday at the Abingdon Marathon, Jessica and Daniel Bruce became the first mother and son team to complete a marathon while the mother was pushing a pram.
Daniel Bruce was only 7 months old during the marathon, and was likely the only competitor there who didn’t hit a wall on account of the fact that he spent most of the first 20 miles napping and kept himself hydrated by drinking a bottle of milk around mile 21.
His mum is Jessica Bruce, and she managed to push him the full 26.2 miles in just 3:17:26. Although the verification with the Guinness World Records is still pending, it is believed that she is currently the fastest woman to push a pram for a full marathon.
Photo: Julian Moore
She began her training when Daniel was 4 months old. He’s her only child, and since David, her husband, is a doctor working long hours near their Oxford home, she started training with little Daniel in the pram.
What does the new world-record-holding mum have to say about it?
“I am just quite amazed we managed to do it in that time. Nothing went wrong, and I was so encouraged by the support along the way.”
On a hilly four-mile loop near her home, Bruce realised she might be fast enough to break a world record with Daniel in tow. She could not find a previous record for a female pushing a pram during a marathon, but Guinness confirmed to her that the time to beat was 3:31:45.
On race day, David ran alongside the stroller for support. “He was there to chat with Daniel, to sing to him, and to help with pacing,” Bruce said. Near mile 21, he held a bottle full of milk for Daniel to drink mid-stride.
“Just like a volunteer at a water station,” she said. “But I made sure he never touched the stroller the entire race.” If he did touch the stroller, the record could have been disqualified.
If Daniel decides to take up running when he gets older, his genes should help. Bruce, who has a 2:58 marathon PR, met her husband at a cross-country running club while attending Oxford University. During her pregnancy, she continued to run until week 30.
“Daniel has been an absolute star,” Bruce said. “He loves watching the trees go by above him in the stroller.” That is, when he isn’t asleep, which the stroller accomplishes nearly every time Bruce starts to run.
Bruce will hear if Guinness ratifies the record by mid-November. Until then, Daniel will admire the shiny finisher’s medal he earned after crossing the line a split-second before his mum.