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466. Hiruni Wijayaratne, South Asia's Fastest Marathoner

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“I feel like I’m in love again with the process of waking up early, putting my shoes on, bundling up, and going for a run. It doesn’t feel quite easy or fun all the time yet, but I’m definitely in love with the process again.”

For most professional athletes, a day in the life includes running, eating, recovering, napping, resting, running again, eating again, and sleeping. But for Hiruni Wijayaratne — the 11-time Sri Lankan record holder in distances from the 5,000 meters to the marathon, and the fastest female marathoner in South Asia — running has to happen before or after her other jobs. Hiruni lives in Colorado, where she works full-time in the tech industry, coaches with Runcoach, and trains at an elite level under the coaching of Ric Rojas. On this episode, Hiruni talks about her years-long quest to qualify for Sri Lanka’s Olympic marathon team, and what it’s been like to fall short of that goal and break her mind, body, and spirit in the process. She talks about her struggles over the past few years, and about clawing her way back to loving running again. Most recently, Hiruni ran the California International Marathon (with training partner Nell Rojas!), where she earned her second-fastest marathon time, finishing in 2:34:22. But the road to the CIM start line wasn’t easy, and today Hiruni is here to talk about what it means to bet on yourself — and how she’s learned to do it.

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • What it was like being in the Boulder area during the massive fires in December (4:10)
  • All about Hiruni’s recent wedding! (11:15)
  • What Hiruni’s job is like, what it entails, and when she runs (13:00)
  • All about those 12 seconds at CIM (16:45)
  • The road to CIM (18:20)
  • What Hiruni’s relationship with running is like now (23:40)
  • Hiruni’s high point in CIM training (28:00)
  • Hiruni’s CIM goals (32:30)
  • How CIM played out for Hiruni (41:35)
  • How Hiruni learned to bet on herself (51:50)
  • On goal setting in the new year (58:15)

Check out:

Nell Rojas on Episode 434 of the Ali on the Run Show

Nell Rojas on Episode 431 of the Ali on the Run Show

Nell Rojas on Episode 229 of the Ali on the Run Show

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