Athlete of Week: Ironman Hunt has a baby on board

bauerhunt
The fact that Danielle Bauer Hunt completed a more than 140-mile Florida Ironman is impressive enough. The biggest feat was that she was competing for two.

Despite being 4 1/2 months pregnant, the 32-year-old Myrtle Beach resident swam 2.4 miles, ran a 26.2-mile marathon, and cycled 112 miles in the Florida Panhandle heat with child in tow. As a neonatal nurse and longtime runner, Hunt got the thumbs-up from her doctor and completed the course in just under 17 grueling hours with child in tow.

“My kid is going to have an awesome story,” joked Hunt, the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week. “My doctor said not to race to win and to make sure my breathing and heart rate stayed within normal range. My only goal was to complete it, and I did it just under the cut-off (in 16:49:47). With the extra weight, it was harder than I thought.”

Coincidentally, this was not the first time Hunt has carried a child across the finish line. In her first Ironman at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington last year, she completed the course 3 hours earlier than her latest effort. She scooped up her first born, Finnly, and held him in her arms as she finished the feat for the first time.

The accomplishments are something the Conway native couldn’t have imagined before she picked up the sport of running while attending Erskine College. She met and married husband Brian through the sport, and she stepped up from running 5Ks for fun to serious training for marathons. Eventually even the 26.2-mile runs became jogs, so she took the next logical step, paddle and pedal to triathlons.

“When I started training more I met these incredible people in their 60s and 70s who were doing the Ironman,” Hunt said. “I thought, ‘If these people can do it, I have no excuse.’ My husband and I were planning on having children so the timing has to be right for the races. When I found out I was pregnant I was already training for the Florida Ironman. My doctor said since this is my norm it was absolutely fine.”

Hunt plans to take it easy, relatively speaking, until her second child is born. But she hopes to get back into her passion for running events for charity with fellow members of local running and triathlon clubs. She has competed in events to raise money to fight everything from MS to childhood obesity, and she already has her next race date set for six months after her due date.

“I’m already going stir crazy so I’m still going to jog and swim and do yoga just to stay sane,” said Hunt, who has scheduled her next Ironman for Sept. 2016. “I’ll be running pushing my baby stroller.”

Hunt’s multiple roles of mother, wife, nurse and athlete are a lot to juggle, but that’s exactly why she does it.

“That’s one of the most rewarding parts is showing other people, ‘Look what’s possible.’ If I can run an Ironman while I’m 4 1/2 months pregnant while being a full-time working mother, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”

Even with a baby on board.

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