Supermodel Christy Turlington Burns is more than just a pretty face. She’s a wife, mother, philanthropist, grad student and filmmaker, and she runs her own charity devoted to maternal health.
Now, she can add marathoner to her list of accomplishments, as she is training to run the New York City Marathon on Sunday to raise awareness for her organization, Every Mother Counts.
Turlington Burns first became involved in maternal health after giving birth to her daughter. She suffered from a retained placenta, which caused heavy bleeding and required medical intervention. Although she and her baby came through the ordeal just fine, it opened her eyes to the issues many mothers around the world face.
So when the New York Runner’s Club offered Every Mother Counts 10 spots in the marathon, she dusted off her shoes and started jogging in earnest.
She said that focusing on her breathing while she runs helps take her mind off her busy schedule, and that after years of traveling to cities as a model, she’d like to revisit them as a jogger.
“I think it just might be part of my routine now. It’s part of my life, and I can’t imagine not getting up and doing it. I’m thinking I could rediscover all the cities I visit on my feet,” she said.
Raising awareness is great, but how exactly does running a marathon play into maternal health? Turlington Burns explains, “In maternal health, distance makes a huge difference, and this is a perfect way to explain that. Five K is the minimum distance a woman has to walk to get to a clinic in many places, and in many places that could be 35K. You’d be surprised that it could be this way in the U.S., but a lot of hospitals have closed…Whenever I travel, I note whether there’s a paved road or not, if there’s emergency transportation or not. Sometimes it’s a bicycle with a flatbed on the back.”
With those scary statistics, it’s no wonder she’s concerned about spreading her message. For more on the model mama, including information about her mission and her documentary film, No Woman No Cry, check out Every Mother Counts.