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Gate River Run Inspiration: Woman runs first race while pregnant

Jen Hawkins uses race to announce pregnancy to friends

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Gate River Run can throw obstacles at runners. The 15 kilometer distance, the Hart Bridge and the Florida heat can all conspire to make the nation's largest 15K a daunting race to run, especially for first timers.

Last year, Jen Hawkins added another degree of difficulty when she ran the race, her first, just after finding out that she was pregnant.

"I signed up for the race, and about three days later I found out that I was pregnant," Hawkins said. 

She was 11 weeks pregnant with her daughter, Dylan. Hawkins and her husband had been trying to have a baby for two years, and she had lost 50 pounds and started walking and running while trying to improve the chances 

"It wasn't that bad. Luckily, I didn't get sick. I was just hot," Hawkins said. "The race was hot and pregnancy makes you even hotter."

Hawkins used the race to tell her friends that she was pregnant, with a sign that her husband and their daughter held at the race.

"That's how we told everyone on Instagram and Facebook," Hawkins said.

Hawkins said that despite being "much slower," she is planning to run the race again this year.