Meet Moire O’Sullivan, an accomplished mountain runner and adventure racer, with a host of accolades to her name. This book tells the story of her life juggling two young children with her sporting endeavours. Julie Bassett shares her thoughts on the title.
A sporting read
I am a fan of sporting books in general, particularly those that give an insight into the athlete behind the accomplishments. If they can make me laugh, be a straightforward read and motivate me in my own running, then I’m certainly on to a winner.
Luckily, Moire O’Sullivan’s Bump, Bike & Baby hit the mark on all three counts. Moire O’Sullivan is a pretty incredible mountain runner and adventure racer. She won Ireland’s National Adventure Racing Series in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and is often found on the podium at various adventure races. You can read more about her journey as an athlete on her website: https://moireosullivan.com/about/.
Bump, Bike & Baby is Moire’s second book. The first, Mud, Sweat and Tears, details her solo attempt at the Wicklow Round. This endurance run is 100K over 26 of Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains. She battled through to become the first person to complete the circuit within 24 hours.
Her second book is about a completely different life challenge – that of becoming a parent. Having children is an experience in itself, but combining that with returning to the competitive stage is a massive feat. Moire admits she wasn’t exactly overjoyed when she found out she was pregnant. This book is honest and revealing, so you truly get an inside view into Moire’s mind and her thinking.
She shares with the reader every step of her pregnancy – the way it affected her body and her ability to continue her sport, which she did while listening to her body’s natural responses. She stopped running at around 30 weeks.
It’s certainly not a read for those who struggle with the detailed ins and outs (quite literally, in places) of childbirth. You almost feel as if you’re there at the birth. For those of us who’ve experienced this ‘pleasure’ it brings back many memories, and if you’re currently expecting, you’ll get a clear insight (whether you want it or not!).
The book focuses on Moire’s huge life change, from being solely invested in training and racing, to becoming responsible for a whole new being. It makes for a shift in priorities that can be hard to come to terms with. Many of us have been there and it’s reassuring to know that our feelings are reflected here. The drive to start training or running again, just to feel some form of normality, can be powerful. But figuring out the logistics of doing that and all the new challenges (feeding, repairing your body, finding the time…) make going for a simple run or bike ride harder than it’s ever been before.
We travel with Moire on her return journey to fitness, through her second pregnancy and find out whether she meets her own personal athletic goals. We read along as she trains for the National Adventure Racing Series.
I found this book an easy read; something I could pick up and delve into whenever I got the chance. I identified with parts from my own motherhood journey and I feel it will definitely appeal to other sporting mums (though certainly not exclusively).
Bump, Bike & Baby is published by Sandstone Press: https://sandstonepress.com/books/bump-bike-and-baby