Former Olympic Swimmer Natalie Coughlin Celebrates Her First Marathon With Inspiring Recap

She recently ditched her swimsuit for a pair of sneakers and completed the difficult feat.
Natalie Coughlin

Natalie Coughlin.

Natalie Coughlin may not be training as a professional swimmer anymore, but that doesn’t mean the 12-time Olympic medalist has put her athletic pursuits behind her. The 41-year-old is still very much willing to push herself physically. She proved as much this past weekend when she participated in the Napa Valley Marathon, her first attempt at the 26.2-mile endurance feat.

She’s not a runner, but that didn’t matter when she stepped up to the line for her first marathon. She may have been, to some extent, a “fish out of water,” as she described herself on Instagram, but her ability to finish the event—and with even splits—speaks to the contrary.

Following the race, the California native took to Instagram to share the news and offer a few inspiring words. It may not have been the performance she was expecting, but she kept her pace for the whole race, and for that—and for completing the 26.2 miles—she’s proud.

“Could barely walk the last couple days I’ve been so depleted, but I’m really proud of myself,” Coughlin remarked in the post. “Never thought I’d compete in a marathon and I’m glad my husband talked me into it! Loved training for something again and having a physical goal.”

But, more importantly, she accomplished the two things that she set out to accomplish: “don’t hurt myself” and “break 4 hours,” she noted in the post. “Not bad for a sprinter!”

Running a marathon is no small feat. Regardless of the results, we’re impressed with Coughlin.

Martha Zaytoun


Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.