After World Championships Silver, Straneo Reado For More In NYC
by Chris Lotsbom
(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
NEW YORK (30-Oct) -- On Sunday, Italy's Valeria Straneo will make her ING
New York City Marathon debut, something the 37-year-old mother of two has
been looking forward to since she was canceled out of the race last year by
Super Storm Sandy. Coming off a 2:25:58 silver medal performance at the IAAF
World Championships Marathon, Straneo is ready to hit the road running once
"New York is the marathon with a big 'M.' Everybody knows it and everybody
would like to participate. I really feel proud to be here," Straneo told
Race Results Weekly here yesterday.
Sunday's race through the city's five boroughs will be Straneo's first
marathon since August's IAAF World Championships, when she surprised many to
finish second only behind Kenya's Edna Kiplagat, the defending champion.
After earning Italy's only medal from the World Championships, Straneo
returned home to a hero's welcome. In an instant she had become a national
celebrity and running icon.
"People now recognize me. In my town everyone is so sweet and nice to me,
making many signs," a glowing Straneo said, giving a thumbs up.
In the weeks and months after the World Championships, Straneo was invited
everywhere: she made appearances at dinners and parties, granted many
television and radio interviews, and even was a guest at a fancy political
"That was a really big evening --I was dressed in an elegant dress with
heels. I don't usually wear those kind of shoes. Running shoes only," said
the Nike-sponsored athlete with a laugh. "Everything is new. I liked to do
Though Straneo's notoriety has grown, she remains grounded and focused on
what really matters: family and training. She doesn't own any makeup,
doesn't drink coffee or wine, and still does housekeeping duties at home.
"It's nice [to be recognized]. But I always train with my coach, I have my
children, things to do at home, housekeeping," she said. "Nothing much has
Asked her goal for Sunday, Straneo answered without a moment's hesitation.
"Podium," she said in an affirmative tone. "But I know it would be very,
very difficult. Who knows. I think to be first is impossible, to be second
it's really hard, and third place is affordable. I hope so. It would be
--what can I say-- the last thing of the year and it's my goal. A dream."
Since the World Championships, Straneo has trained with this weekend's race
in mind. Now on everyone's radar, one would think Straneo would feel an
added weight on her shoulders, trying to match her Moscow performance. The
opposite is true.
"I don't feel pressure. I feel comfortable. I have nothing to demonstrate,
and so I'm just happy to be here and run this race which I always wished to
run," she said. "Last year it wasn't possible. It was my dream to be here
and now they invited me and I'm so happy to be here."
Straneo doesn't have a specific strategy for Sunday other than to run by
feel, exactly what she did at the World Championships and at the 2012 London
Olympics, when she finished eighth.
"I just run and feel my sensations and just keep going. If I feel good I
keep on running," she said. "If they start very fast I don't think I will be
there with the first [group] if they start at 3:20 per kilometer because
it's impossible because it's not my pace.
"I have no strategy. It's elementary," she added with a laugh. "Just
If she finishes on the podium, Straneo believes the reaction back home in
Italy would match what happened after the World Championships.
"I think it would be like the Olympics or World Championships. The level is
like that," she said. "It's so important to be on the podium here because
it's a really hard race. If you finish on the podium you are one of the