7-Months Pregnant Woman To Run in Olympic Marathon Trials To Bond With Her Child and Support Husband’s Dream

Published 02/03/2024, 10:00 AM EST

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Four years ago, in Atlanta, two pregnant women, Lauren Philbrook and Rachel Hyland, started the race at a marathon. At the time, American long-distance runner, Maegan Krifchin didn’t understand why. In 2016, she placed seventh at the Trials in Los Angeles, nurturing the Olympic dream that burned bright within her. However, setbacks, like a hamstring injury in 2020, prompted a re-evaluation of her priorities.

In an interview with Runner’s World, Maegan revealed, “My highs were really good. But the lows are pretty low when you don’t come home to a baby or kid, when that’s something you really want.” Krifchin’s perspective shifted, acknowledging that the highs of marathon success felt incomplete without the presence of a child. Beyond the sheer athleticism, the true power lies in the motivation that fueled her participation; a selfless dedication to support her fiance’s Olympic dream.

Maegan set out to show that women are capable and strong, challenging societal beliefs about the limitations of pregnancy. She said, “It’s a special bond you’ll have with your kid; it’s testing your body and just embracing what life has, the present moment that you’re in.” The 35-year-old pregnant runner further added that she aims to represent pregnant women, she said, “I want to represent the pregnant women out there that are unsure if they can do something or want to do something—show we can, show we’re strong, and just test myself a little bit.” This change in mindset led her to realize that representing pregnant women in the world of competitive running is a powerful statement.


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In the pregnancy journey this far Maegan mentioned that she felt remarkably good, with only one bout of nausea during a five-mile race early on. Though she’s cleared running with her medical team, she’s not quite sure if her doctors completely understand the mindset and capabilities of a pro runner. Right now she is averaging around 30, letting her body dictate the pace.

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Maegan Krifchin will toe the starting line of her third trials. Krifchin’s fiance, Matt McDonald, stands by her side and he is racing too.

A postdoctoral researcher became a runner


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Krifchin and McDonald met when both were members of the Atlanta Track Club. He is a 2:09 marathoner with a shot at making the Olympic Team. Also, he is a postdoctoral researcher in chemical engineering at M.I.T. Recently, he contributed to groundbreaking research published in the journal Science.

McDonald’s career in academia provides flexibility for his running endeavors. However, it also underscores the irreplaceable hands-on nature of scientific work. He said, “I spend a lot of time in the laboratory on my feet, doing chemistry, which obviously you can’t really take with you and do remotely.” 


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McDonald made the Trials in 2020, where he finished 10th. He moved to Cambridge and joined the BAA High-Performance team in January 2021. McDonald improved his PR to 2:09:49 at the 2022 Chicago Marathon.


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Their unique dynamic as elite athletes and professionals in different fields highlights versatility and dedication. Balancing athletic and academic pursuits requires a special commitment. The couple’s shared commitment to their respective passions supports their Olympic Marathon Trials journey.


Written by:

Maleehah Shakeel


One take at a time

Hey, I'm a fervent US sports writer at EssentiallySports, where my passion for sports seamlessly intertwines with the art of storytelling. I've honed my skills in crafting engaging narratives and offering insightful analysis within the realm of US sports, with a special expertise in equestrian sports. Equestrian sports aren't merely a fascination; they hold an irreplaceable spot in my heart.
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Edited by:

Himanshu Sridhar