Excited to announce a new feature to Longrunergy: The Long Run Interviews. First up is a chat with Polina Babkina, who after winning the Xterra Trail Running World Champs is preparing for this weekend’s Honolulu Marathon! Here at LRY we’re impressed by not only her awesome attitude, but her adaptability and plans for the future.
Interview with Polina Babkina
Polina Babkina darted on to the Hawaiian road running scene in 2012 making her debut in the Honolulu Marathon shortly after completing a successful NCAA collegiate running career. Polina’s streak has continued in 2013 with first a win at the Kona Marathon in April (2:51, see results HERE), and then at the Xterra Trail Running World Championships in December, where Polina lifted the crown. Polina’s strength and diversity could be linked to her interesting background, but also her committed attitude only adds to her natural running ability. Longrunergy caught up with Polina in between her busy schedule to talk running, and bananas…
LRY: Hi Polina, congrats on your recent result at the Xterra!
PB: Thank you very much!
LRY: It was great to see a local athlete on top of the podium at Ka’a’awa! What’s next on the schedule?
PB: It was great to win the Xterra, especially because the Honolulu Marathon is my real goal for the end of 2013. I’m excited to share the road with the elite runners in the marathon on Sunday, which will be my third marathon.
LRY: Yes – what a great opportunity. But let’s go back to the beginning briefly, when did you start running in the first place?
PB: Well it is interesting because originally I was a professional tennis player and I’d been playing tennis for thirteen years before I started running! I was playing for the University of West Alabama when the coach noticed that I easily managed any running based exercises the team did for conditioning and fitness. After some discussion we decided that I should test my potential as a runner and so I tried out for the cross-country team. It quickly became apparent that I was suited to running because I moved into the number one position on the team!
LRY: Wow, that’s quite a change of sport from tennis to running. Did you find any major differences between the two?
PB: Yes – there are differences, in strength and mobility but I found a new passion in running and so making the switch wasn’t difficult.
LRY: It’s always great to see people make the transition from collegiate athletics to the more ‘senior’ running scene. How have you found running post-college?
PB: I did miss the support from being on a team at first, but now I actually enjoy running even more! I especially enjoy road racing, the different fields of runners and the different locations of races.
LRY: That’s great to hear! I understand you are now in graduate school, how do you manage to fit in training with your studies?
PB: The HPU program works really well because in graduate school many classes are in the evening. This means I can fit in a morning run and maybe an afternoon session before going to school. It’s working out really well for my training!
LRY: Ideal! So what are your goals for 2014?
PB: Overall my goal is to qualify for the USA Olympic marathon trails, by running the ‘B’ standard of 2:43 or lower. I plan to find a couple of different marathon courses, with different conditions & weather to try to achieve the qualifying time, maybe the California International Marathon next year. I would absolutely love to run for my country in the Olympics!
LRY: Fantastic. That’s a great goal!! Do you have any advice for people who are just starting to run, beginners?
PB: Yes, just enjoy what you do! And don’t give up if you have a failure. Set reasonable goals and work towards them.
LRY: What about motivation? What inspires you, or gets you ‘out-the-door’ on a run if you’re having a bad day?
PB: If I’m having a bad day, or a bad workout, I try to recall a day when I had a strong workout. This way you focus on the positive, don’t think about the negative. Then move on and try to forget about it, enjoy something else in life – maybe watch a movie!
LRY: Great advice, so true! What else do you enjoy doing outside running?
PB: I’m very passionate about photography and do freelance work here in the islands. I enjoy being creative and coming up with new ideas for photographs.
LRY: Wow, what a great mix!! Do you have a website where people can see your work?
PB: Yes sure, right now I’m working on a new website but have a link where you can see my work!
LRY: Excellent! (Please see links at end of interview). OK so now I just have a few fun questions for you, nothing too serious…
LRY: Bananas or pineapples? PB: Bananas!
LRY: Mountains or ocean? PB: Ocean.
LRY: Juices or smoothies? PB: Smoothies.
LRY: Roads, trails or track? PB: Road.
LRY: Compression gear or none? PB: No gear, the less gear the better!
LRY: Awesome! Thank you so much Polina for taking time to talk, it’s great to hear about your goals, and it’s been exciting to see your running career progress! Good luck for Sunday!!
PB: Thank you!!
To find Polina online check out:
And be sure to keep an eye on the Honolulu Marathon Sunday, Dec 8th 2014!