MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. — Rachel Jones has been climbing the Manitou Incline for the last 11 years. In 2022, she became the first woman to join the 1,000 club, an exclusive group for people who have done the incline 1,000 times in a year. Not only is she the first woman to join, but she's 20 weeks pregnant.
That means for 440 times she completed the incline, Jones was hiking for two.
"The largest amount of pride I have for this is being able to finish this challenge in such a womanly way of being pregnant," Jones said.
The Manitou Incline is 2,744 steps and gains more than 2,000 feet of elevation in less than a mile. It's notorious for being one of the hardest and most rewarding climbs in North America.
"The best thing is the feeling at the top," Jones said. "You'd think that it gets old after doing it 1,000 times, but it doesn't."
Jones has been doing high-intensity cardio activity like the incline for years, so she said her doctor approved the climbs while she is pregnant.
"Because my body was acclimated to hiking at this intensity, my doctor was fully on board with me continuing, which is really important," she said.
In terms of naming her baby, Jones said that she and her boyfriend are between a couple of names.
Jones said while she may be the first woman to join the 1,000 club, there have been plenty of women on the incline who have inspired her. She said she wants to carry on that legacy for other women in the future.
"I view inspiration as a torch that gets passed on from one person to the other. And so many people have inspired me that when people say I inspire them, I think of those people immediately and I think about passing that torch on," Jones said.
As of this article, Jones is just 54 climbs away from having done the incline 500 times while pregnant. She's expecting to deliver the baby sometime in late May.
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