Elite runners are joining the calls for better maternity policies in sport, adding their voices to those in the WNBA and in soccer.

WNBA All-Star forward Dearica Hamby called out the Las Vegas Aces this weekend for their “unethical” treatment of her in the wake of her pregnancy announcement. U.S. soccer stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe spoke out in support of Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, who successfully sued her former club for withholding her salary during her maternity leave.

Fiona English joined the chorus this weekend. The runner, who was set to compete in the Boston Marathon in April, took to Instagram on Saturday to address the marathon’s lack of accommodations for pregnant people.

While she described herself as “overjoyed” when she learned she had received a spot in the Boston Marathon field for the first time, the 34-year-old also had recently found out she was pregnant with her first child.

Even during her pregnancy, she has “managed to still race all over the world,” she wrote. But with her due date just two days before the 2023 Boston Marathon, she knew it wouldn’t be possible for her to run the race.

“Obviously running the marathon isn’t just impossible, it would be physically dangerous for everyone involved,” she wrote. “So I tried to defer my place.”

When she reached out to the Boston Athletic Association about a deferral, though, she “was met with the coldest brick wall ever,” she wrote. While she had bought insurance, her claim was rejected.

“Why are you so alienating a section of the population – both financially and through archaic systems that not only discriminate against women but actively make it a costly process to be a woman?” English asked.

As English pointed out in her post, other races — including the London and Berlin marathons — have changed their policies to allow for pregnancy and postpartum deferral.

English is not the only runner to have such issues with the Boston Marathon. Alisa Paterson spoke with UK magazine Stylist ahead of the 2022 Boston Marathon to call out the event’s lack of maternity policy.

“As it stands, the Boston Marathon does not offer any deferral option for women who are in this position – the option is either to run the race whilst pregnant or forfeit your hard-earned place altogether,” she wrote. “When I reached out to the Boston Athletic Association, I received a very ‘computer says no’ response from them confirming that deferring places to the following year is not an option.

“Frankly, I am disgusted by this policy. I’ve had to qualify twice now for this race – I’m clearly fit enough to run it – it makes me so angry and I feel like I’m being punished for getting pregnant.”

The Boston Athletic Association provided a statement to Stylist on its policies.

“The B.A.A does not allow race entries to be transferred, deferred or refunded for any of our races, including the Boston Marathon,” the statement read. “Participants acknowledge and accept this at the point of registration.”

Former Vanderbilt goalkeeper Sarah Fuller was one of eight women to run the Boston Marathon on Monday in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the first official women’s field in 1972, which featured eight runners.

Joining Fuller to mark the occasion was Valerie Rogosheke, one of the original eight runners in 1972.

Long-distance runners Mary Ngugi and Jocelyn Rivas, Paralympians Manuela Schär and Melissa Stockwell, Native Women Running founder Verna Volker and USWNT star alum Kristine Lilly rounded out the commemorative team.

“I am so looking forward to returning to Boston this year with my daughters to celebrate 50 years of women being welcomed into the Marathon,” Rogosheske said. “In 1972, the students at Wellesley yelled ‘Right on, sista!’ On the 25th anniversary the students looked like my daughters, and this year they could be my granddaughters! I celebrate the progress through the generations as women claim their places on the start line.”

Rogosheske went on to run the Marathon three times, finishing sixth in 1972, ninth in 1973 and eighth in 1974.

Fuller made history in 2020 when she became the first woman to play and score for a Power 5 conference football team as a place kicker at Vanderbilt.

“I really want to give credit to the women that were fighting 50 years ago to make this possible,” Fuller told Boston.com. “I know for a fact that the football coaches wouldn’t have been like, ‘Hey, let’s look at the women’s soccer team,’ if all those women before me hadn’t done what they did.”

She finished in a time of 5:50.59.

Lilly finished in a time of 3:54:42.

She was joined by former USWNT teammates Heather O’Reilly and Leslie Osborne at the finish line. O’Reilly and Osborne ran in support of the anti-bullying initiative Boston vs. Bullies. O’Reilly finished in a time of 4:02:01 while Osborne ran a 4:01:58.

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir outlasted Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh in the final minutes to win the women’s competition, finishing first with a time of 2:21:01.

The 2022 Boston Marathon was a fight to the finish for the women’s title, with Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh trading the lead back and forth. Jepchirchir pulled ahead on the final block to finish in an unofficial time of 2:21.02.

Yeshaneh finished second in an unofficial time of 2:21.06.

It was Jepchirchir’s Boston Marathon debut after she won the New York City Marathon in 2021 with a time of 2:22.39. She’s also the reigning Olympic gold medalist, and last year she became the first person to win both an Olympic gold and the New York City Marathon in the same year.

With her win Monday, she became the first athlete to ever win an Olympic marathon gold medal, New York City Marathon title and Boston Marathon title.

Kenyan Mary Ngugi finished third in an unofficial time of 2:21.31. The first American runner to finish, Nell Rojas, was 10th with an unofficial time of 2:25.57.

The Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist, Molly Seidel, dropped out of the race between the 25 and 30K mark, per the Boston Athletic Association. She had been the top American runner at the 15K mark.

Shalane Flanagan crossed the finish line at the New York City Marathon with a time of 2:33:32 for 11th place overall.

The finish marks the completion of Flanagan’s goal to run six marathons in six weeks. The 2017 NYC Marathon champion ran every race in the packed fall calendar, completing the Berlin, Boston, London, Tokyo (remote), Chicago and New York Marathon. The 40-year-old, now retired from professional running, finished every race in under three hours, running her fastest time in New York.

Flanagan says she isn’t looking forward to the grueling project coming to an end, admitting that she has actually enjoyed the experience more than she initially thought.

“I think at the end I’ll be thinking of how much fun we’ve had. I guess now I’ve got to dream up another hard challenge,” Flanagan says of the series coming to a close.

Peres Jepchirchir clinched first place in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, narrowly winning the race with a late surge on the last mile.

The Kenyan runner finished with a time of 2:22:39, just four seconds in front of fellow Kenyan Viola Cheptoo.

“This race is a big moment for not only myself, but so many others and it’s moments like these and the athletes that make them are incredibly important and inspire many more to take up running,” Jepchirchir told Just Women’s Sports before the race.

Jepchirchir is the first woman to win a major marathon and the Olympics in the same year, having captured gold in Tokyo just three months ago.

“Running really has changed my life,” she says. “It has been my passion since I was a little girl and now it’s something I do every day.”

Jepchirchir credits her speed to her shoes, the Adizero Adios Pro 2, which she also wore when she won in Tokyo.

Molly Seidel ran a personal best Sunday to clock the fastest time by an American woman at the New York City Marathon. The record was previously held by Kara Goucher, who ran a 2:25:53 in 2008.

The 27-year-old Seidel finished with a blistering 2:24:42 for fourth place.

To make the feat even more remarkable, the American revealed after the race that she had broken two ribs in the lead-up to the Marathon.

Seidel’s history-making NYC Marathon caps off a remarkable stretch, capturing the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, 6th in the London Marathon and second at the Olympic Trials, which served as her first-ever competitive marathon.

Shalane Flanagan is on a mission to run six major marathons in six weeks, and after having run the Chicago Marathon and Boston Marathon on consecutive days, she only has two more to go.

On Sunday, the 40-year-old ran in the Chicago Marathon, winning her age group with a time of 2:46.39. The next day, she completed Boston in a time of 2:40.34, shaving six minutes off her time less than 24 hours later.

Now, the 2017 New York City Marathon winner, who never once balked at the COVID-shortened marathon schedule, is two marathons away from completing six major races in under three hours.

Next up is the Tokyo Marathon. Organizers canceled the in-person event due to the pandemic, so Flanagan will be able to do that one virtually at home. On Nov. 7, she’ll compete in the New York City Marathon to try and finish the gauntlet.

If she completes the challenge, she’ll gain entry into the Marathon Maniacs, which requires aspiring members to run two marathons within 16 days or three within 90. Flanagan will have run six in 43 days.

Last year was the most challenging stretch of Sara Hall’s running career. From being favored to make the Tokyo Olympic marathon team to dropping out at mile 22 of the U.S. Trials in Atlanta, Hall, then 37, wondered if she’d ever have another chance to redeem herself.

“Everything was canceled,” Hall says of the weeks following that disappointing race in February of 2020.

Overnight, the world shut down. With a global pandemic on the rise, Hall was left without any future races to erase the painful setback. “I really had to cultivate a love for the process,” she says. “I’ve always loved the grind of the hard work, but I had to just focus on today and enjoying today, instead of wondering if I’m ever going to use it towards a race goal.”

Fast forward eight pandemic months to a sunny December day in Chandler, Ariz., when the perfect opportunity for redemption finally presented itself.

Clocking a time of 2:20:32 at The Marathon Project, Hall raced her way into the record books to become the second-fastest marathoner in the U.S., nearly eclipsing Deena Kastor’s record set in 2006. With her gutsy first-place finish, Hall shaved almost 90 seconds off of her previous best of 2:22:01, which she ran just 11 weeks earlier at the London Marathon.

“I didn’t realize I had so much room to grow my aerobic capacity,” Hall says of her performance. “I kept trying longer distances and I kept having surprising success.”

But Hall’s success isn’t surprising. A seven-time Olympic Trials qualifier with ten U.S. titles from the mile to the marathon, Hall can both tackle speedier races on the track and thrive in much longer road races. A “jack-of-all-trades,” as she’s known among elite runners, Hall says one key element has allowed her to experiment with different distances — time.

Hall was a seven-time All-American and star at Stanford University. She credits her early coaches and teammates for helping her develop a healthy balance between training and nutrition. While many young runners struggle with the destructive cycle of under-fueling and overtraining, which often leads to severe burnout or bouts of career-ending injuries, the guidance Hall received at a young age has allowed her to stay healthy on and off the track.

Now, as a 38-year-old elite marathoner, fueling her body to support the intensity of every performance is vital to achieving longevity in her sport.

Hall says her top nutritional goal is to consume enough food to sustain each training session. In season, she regularly runs a full marathon on the weekends as part of her training. So, getting the proper fuel can make or break her workouts.

Hall also focuses on minimizing the sugar in her diet because of its inflammatory impact. Since becoming a marathoner, Hall believes her diet has become a lot “simpler,” centered on organic foods such as vegetables, starches like rice or pasta and grass-fed meats.

“Both really intense track training and longer marathon training generates a lot of inflammation,” Hall says. “The more you can counteract that with your diet, the better you can handle that training.”

The number one thing she says she gets asked at running events or expos is: “Sara, what do you eat before you run?”

The answer, she says, is UCAN. From fueling her fastest marathons to providing the perfect pre- or post-workout snack, UCAN is like a “nutritional insurance” that releases slowly, so Hall doesn’t feel depleted at the end of a 15-mile run.

“You need not only to fuel well to finish that effort, but you also need to fuel enough to recover quickly,” Hall says. “UCAN has been a great tool for that.”

As far as her favorites go, Hall says she enjoys the Cocoa Energy + Protein Powder and the Cherry Berry Almond Bar.

“It’s a game-changer, honestly,” says Dr. Cathy Yeckel, an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale School of Medicine and a nutritional consultant for UCAN. “It’s really a struggle to figure out, ‘How do I eat nutritionally and helpfully, but still fit in the training?’ The beauty of UCAN products is they completely take the guesswork out of it.

“There is so much potential just with having something that’s not going to throw your metabolism off.”

In January of 2021, Hall faced a different type of obstacle. She tested positive for COVID-19, forcing her to pump the breaks on her training. Along with her family, who was also sick, she recovered. The trouble, however, was the fatigue she experienced following the illness.

“I was set back by fatigue for months,” she says. “But I’ve learned how to pick myself back up and just take it day by day.”

Hall posted about her struggle with the virus on Instagram following the 10,000-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene this past July. She had competed in the trials hoping to complete her 17-year quest to make Team USA. In the end, Hall placed sixth.

“I didn’t make the team, but even to be in contention, there was a victory in that and how much I’ve overcome all year,” she says.

This month, Hall competed in the USATF 10 Mile Championships, hosted at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington, D.C. (and rescheduled from its usual April date because of COVID-19). Hall, the three-time defending champion in the race and favorite to win, crossed the line in sixth place. On Instagram, Hall wrote that it was a “rough one,” but she isn’t letting the disappointment distract her from the next challenge — the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10.

“I’ve learned that I don’t need to take confidence from a race like that because I know how I’m training,” she says. “As far as looking ahead to Chicago, I know I’ve put in the work for the marathon. I’ve been focusing on that moment and what I’m doing in training is all pointing to that.”

Poised to kick off another standout marathon season, Hall is now vying to become the American marathon record-holder. This year’s Chicago Marathon will mark the long-awaited return of the event since it turned virtual during the coronavirus pandemic last year.

As for her future plans, Hall says she would never have guessed she’d still be running at the professional level right now. But as long as she continues to make improvements, she’s not going anywhere.

“I always want to compete because I love it. I’m a competitive person,” she says. “But I might transition to the trails or ultras — who knows?”

Brenley Goertzen is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @BrenleyGoertzen.

(Editor’s note: UCAN is a sponsor of Just Women’s Sports)

Molly Seidel’s historic bronze medal in the women’s marathon in Tokyo was the result of a unique race strategy.

“I just wanted to come out… and stick my nose where it didn’t belong,” Seidel said after the race. “And see what I could come away with. And I guess that’s a medal.”

In just her third marathon ever, the conditions were brutal. Not only was the race moved to Sapporo from Tokyo, it was also scheduled to start at 6 a.m. because of a record heat wave. But Seidel welcomed the 78 degrees Fahrenheit temperature alongside the 82 percent humidity.

“Truthfully, I wanted it as hard as possible,” she said after clinching bronze. “I think I thrive off a little bit of adversity.”

Seidel cited her performance during a hilly Olympics trials, when, in her first-ever marathon, she placed second and secured a spot on Team USA.

“When the going gets tough, that’s my strong suit.”

Her strong suit made history at the Tokyo Olympics, as Seidel became just the third American woman after Deena Kastor and Joan Benoit Samuelson to medal in the marathon at the Olympics.

Seidel says her coach told her at the last minute to bring her medal uniform to the race. Seidel didn’t think she would need it. Turns out, she proved everyone wrong — even herself.

Molly Seidel, the 27-year-old American, had only run two marathons before arriving to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. But on Friday night, Seidel pulled off a historic upset and is leaving Japan with a bronze medal.

Seidel’s bronze makes her only the third American woman to medal in the Olympic marathon ever — which includes storied distance runners Deena Kastor and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir took gold in 2:27:20, while world record holder Brigid Kosgei won the silver in 2:27:36. Siedel was close behind and let out a well-deserved scream as she crossed the line in 2:27:46 to round out the Olympic podium.

Seidel finished second at the U.S. Olympic trials in February 2020 in her first-ever competitive marathon, behind her teammate Aliphine Tuliamuk, who dropped out of the Olympic race because of an injury.

In a post-race interview, Seidel was overcome with a mix of exhaustion and emotion after seeing her family celebrate.

“I’m so tired,” said Seidel. “Please, please drink a beer for me!”

Following the marathon, several legendary distance runners and fellow Olympians sent their congratulations to Seidel on social media.