Kipsang and Galimova Sign Autographs for Fans

Categories: Elite Athletes

Defending-chmapsHonolulu Marathon champions Wilson Kipsang of Kenya and Valentina Galimova of Russia returned to Kapiolani Park Monday morning to meet their fans, and Tanya Somera was first in line to get the winners’ autographs for the second consecutive year. “It’s a great incentive to meet them,” said Somera, of Pearl City, Oahu, who ran her fifth Honolulu Marathon on Sunday and has obtained the winners’ autographs each year. “It inspires me to train harder every year.” Kipsang and Galimova signed autographs and posed for photos under a tent for nearly two hours, signing souvenir cards showing them crossing the nearby finish line. They also signed running numbers, finisher certificates and T-shirts. The fans, often 50 deep, lined up after picking up their certificates at an adjoining tent. Kipsang said he enjoyed meeting the runners, and lingered to sign more autographs even after race officials ended the session. Galimova, whose marathon victory was her first, said she enjoyed the autograph session but said she was looking forward to going to the beach. “I enjoyed meeting the people,” she said. “I didn?t realize people loved this sport so much.” Most of the autograph seekers were among the thousands of Japanese runners who completed in the race. Among them was Hayato Date, who also is a regular at the autograph sessions. He brought with him 2004 and 2005 Honolulu Marathon posters, which had been signed by past winners. He proudly showed off the two new names. Date ran his 18th Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, and, asked if he would return next year, said, “Of course!” Galimova said “maybe,” when asked if she would return, but her manager, Andrey Baranov, said, “Not maybe, definitely!”


Author: News Team