Running for two: Balancing motherhood with marathon training to cross the finish line

Date: Monday, 27th March 2023

Callee Torrey just after finishing 26.2 miles at the Flagstaff Marathon greeted by Fiancée Bobby and baby Pax at the finish line. 


Flagstaff, Az – Mom, mental-health advocate, and self-described vintage curator, Callee Torrey is no stranger to the art of juggling. This mama can now add marathon runner to her title. Even more impressive, running the 26.2 miles for the first time all the while having to balance breastfeeding her baby. She literally stopped at mile 13.1 to breastfeed her baby and still managed a respectable time of (6:02) hours. She is unstoppable. This month’s HERstory is a celebration of motherhood and a testament to the strength and resilience of women.


The Flagstaff Marathon is known for its high altitude (starting at 8,000ft), profound elevation gain (2,400ft),  it’s without a doubt one of the toughest marathons in the southwest. It draws runners from all over the world willing to tough it out running through golden aspen forests and the scenic mountains of Northern Arizona.


That’s what drew Callee Torrey, 32, of Running Springs, California to the race; having previously lived in Flagstaff she was she was excited to be reunited with old friends and make new memories doing something she had never done before, run a marathon.


 “I underwent a huge spiritual transformation while living in Flagstaff many years ago. Coming back to run a marathon as the toughest version of myself was a beautiful experience. I cried the last three miles of the race. It was a full circle moment for me.”


The newest edition to Callee’s world is her son Pax. Callee mentioned it had been a real challenge for her to train for the race for numerous reasons since giving birth to Pax five months earlier.


“Running a marathon has always been at the top of my bucket list. Birthing naturally without pain medication empowered me like nothing else before. I was five months postpartum with a pelvic organ prolapse and separated abdomen. It was certainly an odd time to get back into running, but it was the best possible thing I could have done for my mental health at that time.”


Running was something Callee has done off and on since she was is in middle school, but had taken a 13-year hiatus from running.


“The day I officially signed up for the race I was googling couch to marathon in six months and was unable to run for longer than a minute without needing to stop and take a break.”


Running with a new born baby while breastfeeding has its challenges. Callee had to get creative with her training regimen. While not ideal, it worked- for the both of them.


“My son, Pax, has been exclusively breastfed since birth. This makes running long distances challenging for obvious reasons. I could never stray too far from our house just in case he needed a feed while I was running. This meant I ran hundreds of miles in my neighborhood and never stepped foot on a single trail. On long runs I would typically run for two hours and then circle back to my house to breastfeed Pax. I would guzzle down some electrolytes, hand Pax back to his dad and then continue on for another hour or two.”


In addition to a unique training schedule, Callee was also dealing with postnatal injuries that created their own hardships and at times taught her how to laugh through the embarrassing moments.


“Diastasis recti is a condition where the muscles along the midline of your abdomen separate. The change in the connective tissue caused me to have pretty intense pelvic, hip and back pain. I did not put an emphasis on strengthening my core, hips and glutes like I should have and I certainly paid the price! A month before the race I developed severe IT band pain due to my weakened muscles. Three weeks leading up to the race I completely stopped running and focused on strength training, rolling out my hip flexors with a lacrosse ball and stretching like it was my day job.”


Callee and her running mate went as far as to create their own stickers for the marathon. The custom stickers were retro in design with the words Team Flush underlined in red and gold and a tag line that said “gotta go!” with a graphic of a roll of toilet paper.


“My teammate and I both experienced issues with needing to urgently use the restroom while training. After giving birth, I was diagnosed with a bladder prolapse which in turn caused me to pee in my pants while running sometimes. Luckily, we had a sense of humor about our struggles and decided that Team Flush fit us perfectly.”


So how does one keep their motivation levels up when training for a marathon. For Callee it was the mission to tackle monumental goals that once seemed impossible.


“I wanted to set an example to my son that hard work, discipline and persistence will take you where you want to go even when the odds are stacked against you. When I was drowning in a sea of doubt, motivating forces pushed me to continue on despite the many challenges and hardships I faced throughout my marathon journey. Doubt is our worst enemy and the only way to overcome it is to silence your mind and simply keep going. It’s truly that simple…. You just keep going.”


Callee said her love for ponderosa pines and her spiritual connection to Flagstaff and its mountains will have her coming back.


“I will definitely run the Flagstaff marathon again! Flagstaff will always hold a very special place in my heart. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to be immersed in the magic of the Coconino Forest for 26.2 miles and be surrounded by the beautiful community that exists within Flagstaff.”


About the Flagstaff Marathon


The Flagstaff Marathon is billed the “coolest” marathon in Arizona is a completely off-road course in the Coconino National Forest. At 8,000+ ft in elevation, it is known as of the most challenging courses in the country with 1,200 feet of climbing for the half, and 2,400 for the full.


The Flagstaff Marathon is a fundraiser for Coconino Community College’s Foundation, the proceeds go to support CCC’s newly started athletic cross-country program.


Participants can register for the full, half, 10k or kids kilo. Registration is now open for the 2023 Flagstaff Marathon to learn more or register visit,




Jessica Laessig

PR/Marketing and Events Coordintor 

Coconino Community College 




All Dates

  • Monday, 27th March 2023