Mother on the Run to the Paris Games: Elena Congost’s Journey

Title: Elite Athlete Elena Congost Returns to Competition After Motherhood, Seeks Tokyo Paralympics Medal


Elena Congost, a Paralympic marathon champion from Rio 2016, is set to make her comeback to international competition at the 2024 Paris Games. The 40-year-old athlete has been away from elite sports for eight years, during which she gave birth to four children. After a grueling training routine, Congost has achieved the minimum times required for the Olympics, proving to herself and others that she can still compete at the highest level.

The Daily Routine

As a mother of four, Congost’s daily routine is chaotic. "Until school ended, I took the little one with the babysitter or with grandma, another one to daycare and the two older ones to school. I was leaving them like packages," she says, amused. "And from there I would go to train. When I finished, I would pick them up, they would eat at home, and I would take them back to school. Then I would send them to extracurricular activities. The older ones did gymnastics, and the two younger ones stayed with their grandmother. In the meantime, I would take advantage of the time to train for my second session. And then baths, dinner, and going to sleep as soon as possible." Her daily marathon is a balancing act between motherhood and elite sport.

The Challenges

The hardest part of being a mother and athlete is finding time to rest, an essential aspect of elite sport. "The little one never sleeps through the night; he wakes up two or three times a night. I notice that I am short of sleep," she admits. Her husband was her biggest supporter, encouraging her to return to competition after the birth of her baby. Congost started training without telling anyone until she spoke to her coach in September, and although they knew it was crazy, she set herself the goal of the Seville marathon in February. "We prioritized training at a slower pace and putting in volume to at least make it. I took Seville like the University Entrance Exam," she explains. And continuing with the simile, she got a first-class honor. They asked for a minimum of 3:11, and Elena did 3:05:02. More than enough.

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Athletics Helps You Disconnect

"When I finish training, I ask myself: who told me to be here?" Congost says, amused. But she doesn’t regret it at all. "Before I put a lot of pressure on myself, I wanted to be the best. Now I no longer have to prove anything to anyone. And when I go to train, it is my time without children, of calm, it is only me, I am back to being the same as always." It’s her moment to disconnect from the world and helps her get home with a clear mind.

The Upcoming Games

Congost is now focused on the Tokyo Paralympics, where she will compete in the marathon for the first time with a guide due to her optic nerve atrophy from birth. She acknowledges that the next 12 weeks of training will be intense, with approximately 150 kilometers per week. Logistics will become complicated as school starts, and Congost is unsure if her two oldest children will accompany her husband to Paris.

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