Meet the Olympian-turned-70.3 champion who is proving that crushing races and motherhood can go hand-in-hand.
Czech superstar Radka Kahlefeldt (née Vodicková) returned to racing last year just 11 weeks after the birth of her daughter Ruby—and ever since she’s been in indomitable form with a second-place finish at The Challenge Championship and a third-place finish at the 70.3 European Championships. The 35-year-old professional says she is driven by her love of training, racing, and traveling all over the world—even with a new toddler in tow.
“I was 15 when a triathlon coach in my home town of Jablonec, in the Czech Republic, asked me if I’d like to give triathlon a go. It seemed like a fun idea, so I joined the team and discovered there were lots of good-looking boys there, which was mostly why I kept going.”
“I started racing sprint and Olympic distance back in 2004. I was not a good swimmer then, but by the time I was 18 I had made huge improvements. I began representing the Czech Republic in ITU races, the highlight of which was competing at the 2012 Olympic Games. By then I had already started thinking about non-drafting races, which just seemed more interesting to me. I did my first 70.3 race later in 2012. I really enjoyed it and never looked back.”
“I was still with the Czech Federation until 2013 and then decided to go out on my own and only do non-drafting races. Doing this gave me the freedom to race where I wanted. As I got older, I preferred to be my own boss and combine both my passions: racing and traveling.”
“I met my husband, Brad Kahlefeldt (an Aussie who retired last year after a 20-year pro racing career), while at a Challenge race in Australia in 2013. He bought me a coffee after a bike ride, we chatted for a while, and we’ve been together ever since. We got married in 2016 and our daughter Ruby arrived in January last year.”
“I was fortunate; my pregnancy was good and I could stay active. I did my last race when I was 11 weeks pregnant and returned to racing 11 weeks after giving birth, at 70.3 Davao in the Philippines. I only resumed running two weeks before the race, so that was tough, but I was surprised at how good I felt on the bike and in the swim.”
“It has really surprised me coming back from pregnancy. My results have been better. I have beaten people I never had previously. I think it has a lot to do with my training; it now has to be very focused with specific intervals. I am doing less hours but more quality work.”
“I still really love racing and taking the break while pregnant really brought that home to me. One day we would like to have a second baby, and I don’t think I could still race with two children, so I expect that would be the time I decide to retire from racing.”
Radka Kahlefeldt’s Faves
- Post-race meal
- Chocolate milk, then steak
- Training destination
- Noosa Heads, Australia
- Laguna Phuket Triathlon
- Pre-race music
- Ruby’s attempts to talk
- My husband Brad
- Jak zit a nezblaznit se (English translation: “How to live and not go crazy”). It is the only book I’ve been able to start reading since my daughter Ruby was born. It’s about how to raise children.
- If I weren’t a triathlete, I’d probably be:
- A midwife