Nettie Sakova gave birth to her daughter, Ruby, 16 months ago. Last month, she ran through the night to clock up 160 kilometres through the Brindabellas.
It was the most time she'd ever spent apart from her baby daughter, which meant she was determined to make it count.
"I didn't want to waste the opportunity, I didn't want to put in half an effort," she said.
Ms Sakova was one of the final few standing in The Gumby, Canberra's first backyard ultramarathon.
The event sees participants run around a 6.7 kilometre trail - on the hour every hour - until all but one has dropped out.
"I ended up messaging my husband at the 100 kilometre mark and asking him, 'Hey, do you mind looking after the baby for a bit longer? I'm going to give the 100 miles a crack'"
While most participants had a crew ready to feed them, make sure their bodies were holding up and keep their heads in the game between laps, Ms Sakova cut a solitary figure in her lone setup beside the start/finish line.
Fairly new to Canberra, the Navy mum had led up to the event by completing solo 30-kilometre and 50-kilometre runs over lockdown, as well as a 95-kilometre event the month before.
"I've been wanting 100 miles for so long, it was amazing to finally achieve it," Ms Sakova said.
"And then my baby just latched on to me."
Ms Sakova started running with Ruby four months after giving birth. Having had an emergency cesarean, she eased her way back into running with five-kilometre lake loops with the pram.
Just as anyone who has ever seen mums and dads running with prams may have expected, it isn't a walk in the park.
"On the flat it's OK and we're very lucky in Canberra with all the bike paths - all the cyclists I see cheer me on too which is a super boost," she said.
"But as soon as you start pushing up the slightest bit of a hill, it's hard."
Despite being back at work full time, studying a masters in international aid and development and raising a baby, Ms Sakova has hardly decided to take a breather.
"I think I want to try for 200 kilometres," she said.
She's not the only Canberra mum dominating the trails, either.
Shiree Yap has a running group in Canberra which combines the super fit, the new starters and the inbetweeners.
Ms Yap is also a mother of four children and an ultra runner herself. Last year she ran in a 100-kilometre event around Canberra in well under 14 hours.
Provided Covid cases can be kept under control in NSW, she'll no doubt be aiming to beat that next weekend when she tackles another 100-kilometre run for Ultra-Trail Australia in the Blue Mountains.
Ms Yap said there's no shortage of exceptional running mums in Canberra, which for many is an important sense of achievement and wellbeing.
"Running provides so many incredible benefits to us as mums," she said. "It provides social interaction and friendships, a sense of belonging and community."
Hayley Cuttle is the ACT coordinator of Mum Runner, a national community of runners who sign up online for events they can compete in their own time.
She's also the mother of a two-year-old, a five-year-old and a seven-year-old.
Ms Cuttle completed her first ultra at the Stromlo Running Festival two years ago.
She went on to complete the Canberra Times Marathon Festival 50-kilometre event in five hours and nine minutes this year. Two weeks later she put in a solid 13 hours in The Gumby event for a very respectable 88-kilometre day.
Currently, about 60 Canberrans are part of the national Mum Runners group, with numbers on the up.
"It's definitely growing," said Ms Cuttle. "When you see the shirts around it feels like you're part of a community."
Outside of the territory, mums are taking the trophies at some of the biggest ultra events in the country and around the world.
In the Surf Coast Century in 2020, mother of two Sarah Hedger won the 100-kilometre women's event in 10 hours and 13 minutes. Another mum of two, Christine Hopkins came in just behind her.
In 2019, Scottish mum Jasmin Paris became the first woman to win the 431-kilometre Montane Spine Race, expressing milk for her 14-month-old baby on stops.
History teacher at Erindale College and mum Linda Edstrom ran her first 50 kilometres in March. Her youngest wasn't quite two years old when ascended Kosciusko twice.
She said after having children running takes on a different type of importance. A few minutes snatched between work and family, listening to a podcast.
"Running is probably the only thing that I do that I don't have to do. I solely do it because I want to do it," she said.
While once she woke before sunrise to get those first special minutes of crisp, fresh air before the world gets noisy, now it's just finding the time.
"I'm not a morning runner or an afternoon runner any more," Ms Edstrom said.
"I run when I can.
She said sometimes that means pulling the sneakers on while the kids are distracted with dinner.
Ms Edstrom said she's become a better, stronger, faster runner since having children.
"I think you do become more resilient in many ways," she said.
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