Defending champion says her run was motivated by pretty dress
Categories: Elite Athletes
Valentina Galimova says her favorite thing to do in Hawaii — besides running the Honolulu Marathon, of course — is to shop.
But the defending women’s champion told a group of students on Thursday that she won’t do any shopping until after Sunday’s race. However, that may not prevent her from doing some more window shopping.
“Last year on the race course I saw a pretty dress in a shop window and that made me run faster,” the 27-year-old professional marathoner told the students at Damien Memorial School in Honolulu. She said that after the race she went to the Waikiki store where she saw the dress and bought it.
Whether or not it was the pretty dress, Galimova surged late in the race and edged then-defending champion Woynishet Girma of Ethiopia by 59 seconds. The Russian will have her hands full on Sunday, with Girma seeking to regain her title and three other strong Ethiopian runners also challenging her.
Asked why she comes such a long way to run, Galimova said, “I love this place very much. It’s the best marathon,” although admitting she has run only a few races over the 26.2-mile distance.
A resident of Perm, Russia, which is described as the “Gateway to Siberia,” Galimova says it is “very cold” there. Twenty-below-zero. So she trains in Portugal prior to coming to Hawaii. “This helps me adjust to Hawaii’s heat.”
She described some of the Russian foods she enjoys, and said her training diet features pasta, bagels and meat. She said she avoids sugars just before races. She emphasized the meat and made it clear she is not a vegetarian.
In response to a question from a husky male student, Galimova said she doesn’t supplement her running with weight training. “Lifting is too hard. We need to be slim,” she said, drawing admiring smiles from the male students.
She said she ran her first marathon at age 23, and told the students, “you are too young” for a marathon.