The famous 46-year-old model will be running her fourth marathon in London.
This weekend, model, filmmaker, humanitarian, runner and mother Christy Turlington Burns has two goals in mind: 1. to run a sub 4-hour marathon for the first time (she came close at the Chicago Marathon last fall), and 2. raise as much money as possible for her charity Every Mother Counts.
Every Mother Counts is a non-profit founded by Burns, dedicated to taking action and raising funds that help support safe childbirths and maternal health programs around the world. One of the ways the organization raises money is by running races.
“In many parts of the world, women have to walk a minimum distance of 5K to reach basic prenatal care and often even more than the distance of a marathon to reach emergency obstetric care, ” says Burns in a press release. “Any woman who has been through it understands how critical maternal healthcare is, and when things don’t go as planned, two lives are at risk.”
In 2011, Burns ran 26.2 miles for the first time at the New York City Marathon. The following year the New York resident trained for the race again (which was ultimately canceled due to Hurricane Sandy), with hopes to raise money for Every Mother Counts.
“As I trained for that marathon, I realized that running has a lot of similarities to the experience of pregnancy and labor,” says Burns who has two children of her own. “Racing has also become a way to educate the public about one of the biggest barriers girls and women face when bringing life into the world—distance.”
Burns’ film, released last year, “Every Mile, Every Mother,” further explores how long distance running can be a metaphor for birth. It follows 12 runners in the Oregon Hood to Coast Relay, and demonstrates the parallel between childbirth and a relay race—both require teamwork and support.
This year, as Burns tackles the London Marathon on April 26, she will be running alone instead of with the support of a team. She usually runs with the Every Mother Counts team, which has raised over $1 million since 2011. As the celebrity spokesperson for the new Apple Watch, though, a recount of her 7-week training can be found on the Apple website, where she also talks about her personal goals for the upcoming race.
“The London marathon is a favorite among so many marathoners and it is known to be a great course, so it seemed like a good fit to try and beat my personal record this year,” Burns says.