(Grand) Mother Runner of the Month! Leslie Barrenal

Mother runners, meet your September Mother Runner of the Month (& GRANDmother Runner of the Month) Leslie Barrenal of Santiago, Chile. Leslie has 3 kids, one grandkid, and has been running for 8 years.

Leslie found running a bit later than many because all her life, she believed she couldn’t run. Leslie was born with a congenital malformation. Her left leg and foot are imperfect. After 5 surgeries to rebuild it, doctors warned running could cause her harm. While it hurts her physically to run, she still does it. Why? Because the mental benefits far outweigh the pain: “The joy and satisfaction of achieving each goal, at my own pace with the difficulties for me to do it, is bigger than anything.”

Perhaps that is why this mother runner doesn’t just run a few miles here and there. No, she runs ULTRAmarathons.

“I started running at a time in my life when I needed a space of tranquility and personal reflection,” shared Leslie. “Running healed me of many bad thoughts and gave me a new perspective on life.”

Related: Meet the other Mother Runners of the Month

Leslie was born with a congenital malformation & told not to run.
Leslie was born with a congenital malformation & told not to run.

Leslie says longer distances afford her the inner strength to convince herself to achieve it: “Even when you are going hungry, cold, hot, or in a lot of pain, watching the sunsets from that unique moment with yourself, fighting your own battles and enjoying the environment, and seeing the sun rise again…you can only be grateful to be there and be able to experience it.”

Leslie has run distances up to 120 kilometers. Her unfinished dream is to run a hundred-mile race.

Join me in rooting her on!

Mother runners, meet your Mother Runner of the Month, Leslie!

Related: Nominate your own Mother Runner of the Month

Why do you enjoy running?

Because is my own personal moment, running changed my way to see the world, life, and myself. It gave me the trust to do something I love, pursue goals, and achieve.

What are your running goals and accomplishments?

Well now, to run again outside in the mountains, but before the COVID-19 situation, my goal was (and still is) to finish a 100 miles race.

How does your love of running impact your kids/family?

A lot, because they see me complete and happy. They enjoy my running stories about races and how I deal with each crazy running situation, and they admire how I bring out the best of me, I face my fears and achieve what I set out to do. They celebrate every medal I bring home, they applause my courage and try to imitate it.

Leslie's family has witnessed the positive change in her that running created.
Leslie’s family has witnessed the positive change in her that running created.

How does running make you a better mom?

It gives me moments of tranquility and of ordering my thoughts, the day to day can be overwhelming and running is an important part of every day, it is a time out of the routine, to be a mom, wife and housewife, clarify my ideas, It gives me power over myself and confidence to face every challenge as a mother, to understand my children and to have patience with them.

What’s the best piece of running advice you’ve ever gotten?

Enjoy the journey and treasure the goal

Do you have any favorite running podcasts?

A Chilean one, Soy Ultra.

Mother Runner of the Month Leslie Barrenal
Leslie doesn’t let pain keep her from going the distance.

How do you stay motivated when the going gets tough?

Try to think in my family, my children and in myself, they give me the power and hope to continue. I always remember that nobody forces me to do what I do, is something that I love and I propose to fight my limits and advance more and more, so for me and for everything I want to be I stay motivated.

Please add anything else you’d like to talk about!

I love to inspire and motivate other mothers to go out and run, have a personal moment, and be an example of a healthy and strong life to their children. Everybody can be an inspiration to other people, every story about running is a story of self-improvement, achievements and reaching goals, whether you run 5k, 10k, marathon or ultramarathons, decide to have a change of life and get to where you are today is a great experience to treasure and share with our friends, family, and people who appear on this path that we are so passionate about running. Be proud and keep improving!

Thank you, Leslie!

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