Malibu mom set to return to endurance races

Emily Gallin runs in the LA Marathon, her last race before the COVID pandemic hit, in March 2020. Gallin is training for her return to competitive running. Contributed Photo.

Emily Gallin, the fastest finishing American woman in the Los Angeles Marathon two years ago, is running her way back to competitive races. 

The Malibu mother of four young children is running miles and doing speed training in hopes of competing this fall. Due to the pandemic and the birth of her baby boy, Pearce, in February, Gallin’s next race will be her first since her fast finish at the LA Marathon in March 2020.

Instead of a marathon though, the endurance runner is going to compete in shorter distance races.

“Training for a 5K is more reasonable,” Gallin said. “I didn’t race all of COVID and I have four kids, so the demand for me is really high. I love the shorter races. The more you focus on the shorter stuff, you get better for a marathon anyway.” 

The 37-year-old finished the 26.219-mile LA Marathon in 2 hours, 40 minutes and 15 seconds, tops among U.S. women. Her blazing time placed her fourth overall in the women’s elite division. 

Gallin, a track and cross country athlete in college and graduate school, and member of running groups in New York City and Boston before moving to California with her husband, Zach, hadn’t laced up her running sneakers for competitions in a few years before she jaunted in the LA Marathon. After the running spectacle, she planned to compete in more races, but the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that. 

When the competitive running world opened up a bit after months of it being shut down, Gallin began to train some, but then stopped when she became pregnant with Pearce. 

The runner also fell near the end of a 10-mile trail run Memorial Day weekend. That resulted in a substantial bruise on her left thigh and some discomfort while running. 

She had hoped to compete in races this summer, but instead she took time to heal and savored the time she has spent with her kids, which along with 6-month-old Pearce include 3-year-old Kade, and 5-year-old twins Jaxton and Chloe.

“It was hard to accept letting my summer running season go when the fall on the trail happened,” Gallin said. “I was disappointed, but I’ve spent so much more time with the children. It’s been great and I love it.” 

Gallin only trained for eight weeks for the LA Marathon. When she thinks of her performance in the popular event, she fantasizes about her much better she could run in competitions. 

“It was a positive experience,” Gallin said. “At times, I think about the things that went well and then lots of things that went wrong or didn’t go well. To me, it showed how much more I can do.” 

Gallin expects her new coach Mario Fraioli, her teammate on a Boston running team over a decade ago, to push her to her goal of fast finishing race times. 

“I have always wanted to break 16 minutes in the 5K, which I know is possible,” said Gallin, who ran the distance in 16:03 over a year ago. “I want to tackle some of the shorter distances before getting right back to the marathon. I want to build.” 

Gallin wants to sign up for a race next month. She wants her kids to see her race against other runners. 

“They know mommy goes running every day,” Gallin said. “I explained to them that mommy is good at running because she practices every day. They are like ‘Who is faster you or daddy?’ They love it.”