parenting

31-year-old mom of 3 heading to a world championship

As if being a mom and full-time real estate agent aren't hard enough, Sara Vaughn is also a world-class athlete

31-year-old mom of 3 heading to a world championship

As if being a mom and full-time real estate agent aren't hard enough, Sara Vaughn is also a world-class athlete
  • If you're a mom, you know how challenging it is just to find five minutes to exercise. For many elite athletes, taking time out of training and competition to have a baby can fundamentally change their career. But one mom is proving it's possible to have kids and beat out 27 other women to make a world championship team.

  • Sara Vaughn is a mother of three daughters, full-time realtor and a runner. In June 2017, she qualified in one of the most hotly contested events on the track: the 1,500 meter race. Her third-place finish at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championship qualify her to compete with the U.S. team going to London for the biennial world championships in August.

  • For Vaughn competing in an elite sport and being a parent have always gone hand in hand.

  • "I had my first kid in college, and I never knew any different," she told reporters after her race. "I was never really a good runner before I had kids. That all came after Kiki was born. I had her my sophomore year of college. And I started getting better after that, and we had our second one after we graduated college. And it was just life. I never really knew any different."

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  • Success on the track didn't come easy. As a student athlete at the University of Colorado Bouder she tried to train as part of a team, but as a mom she found it difficult to fit everything in. So this year she and her husband tried something new in an attempt to place higher than her previous personal best: seventh at last year's Olympic trials.

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  • "There's a big change that happened at the beginning of the year where my husband's coaching me now," she said. "We've just been able to focus on what I need to do, and I don't have to build my schedule around a team. It's been really selfish sort of. Like I get to work out when I need to work out or sleep in when I need to sleep in, and I think that's been the big shift."

  • Even then, she admits that her "days are crazy," and training is "not always the primary focus." But in a sport where most athletes wait to have children until after they've retired-or at least taken a step down in competition-Vaughn has proved that it's possible, and maybe even more enjoyable, to be both a mother and a world-class athlete.

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