Liliya Shobukhova is an athlete competing in track and field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for Russia, making her third appearance at the Games, where she figures to be a gold-medal contender in the women's marathon. After a successful career on the track, Shobukhova has transitioned full time to the roads where she has won the last two World Marathon Majors overall titles.

With an excess of $1 million in prize money earned over the last two years, Liliya Shobukhova is giving back to Beloretsk, the town she and her husband grew up in. The couple have set up their own construction company and plan to build a combination hotel-sports center in the town after the London Olympics are concluded. The facility will include a small stadium, a track and a gym. Shobukhova said the project is important "so that our children will have somewhere to run that we didn't have as kids."

Shobukhova competed in two marathons during the 2011 season with tremendous success. In April, she finished second to Kenya's Mary Keitany in the Virgin London Marathon, running a personal-best and Russian record 2:20:15. In October, she captured her third straight title at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, lowering her national record and PR to 2:18:20, the fastest marathon time in the world on the year. The victory also secured Shobukhova her second straight World Marathon Majors title and the accompanying $500,000 purse.

With a strong track background, Shobukhova possesses an advantage in the marathon that few others can match — foot speed. At the 2009 Chicago Marathon, her final 2.2 kilometers were timed at 6 minutes and 23 seconds, the equivalent of 4:49-mile pace and easily one of the fastest splits ever in women's marathoning. She also sprinted away from the field at the 2010 London Marathon to win by 13 seconds, Her final 200 meters in that race were timed at 33 seconds.

Shobukhova's decision to focus on road racing has paid immediate dividends. In October 2009, she won the Chicago Marathon in 2:25:56. She followed that up in April of 2010 by winning the London Marathon in 2:22:00. Shobukhova returned to Chicago to defend her title in October 2010. Running un even pace, she overtook Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia in the second half of the race and finished in a Russian record 2:20:25, the 10th-fastest time ever. The three victories earned Shobukhova the 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors jackpot of $500,000.

When Shobukhova decided to make a fulltime transition to road racing, she also opted for a new direction in her coaching. She ultimately parted ways with Tatiana Vasilievna, her coach since childhood, to be mentored instead by her husband, Igor. "The good thing is that we are together," Shobukhova said of the couple's relationship in a World Marathon Majors profile. "And bad thing is that you can't separate the two things. Everything is always being watched. I can't even meet with my friends."

Shobukhova began dabbling with road racing in 2007, when she won the Prague Half Marathon and competed at the IAAF World Road Running Championships. Still feeling a pull toward the track, she competed in the 5000m at the Beijing Olympics, reaching the event final. The following year, she stepped up in distance on the track, reaching the 10,000m final at the World Championships in Berlin. But after failing to medal again, she turned to road racing full-time.

Shobukhova enjoyed her first major success during the 2006 season. She ran a world indoor record at the Russian Championships, running a time of 8:27.86 in the 3000m. A few months later, she won a silver medal in the 3000m at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow. At the European Outdoor Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, Shobukhova picked up another silver medal, in the 5000m.

In 2002, Shobukhova won the Russian nation championship at 5000m with a time of 15:25.00, a victory which established her as a medal threat in the track distance races. In 2004, she made her Olympic debut in Athens finishing 13th in the 5000m. In 2005, Shobukhova competed at the World Championships in Helsinki, but again failed to medal.

When Shobukhova was identified as a potential talent, she was enrolled in one of the many state-funded Children's Sports Schools of Olympic Reserve. From then on she lived the life of an athlete, training twice daily with other rising stars, with every resource she might need to grow up into a world-beater. She did not blossom as early as childhood friend and classmate Galina Bogomolova, who by 2000 was already representing Russia at 10,000 meters in the Olympic Games, but finally made her international debut in 2001 at 3000 meters at the European Cup, placing fourth in 9:06:78.

Shobukhova entered the Soviet sports system as a 9-year-old, and was subjected to the same battery of tests the government used to identify its athletic talent at a young age. "They took us hiking, backpacking, put us in different situations to get the experience," she said. "They checked not only how we run, but get along as a team, even the way we pick up berries in the forest, thus experienced our patience and composure, and quietly made corrections."

Shobukhova was not interested in running as a child, opting instead to play basketball and to ice skate, a sport she admits she "didn't have such good results" in. In third grade, when school officials began to organize students into sports clubs, Shobukhova's classmates begged her to try running but she declined. Even after winning her first race, a village 2-K at the age of 13, her interests lied elsewhere. "I liked at that time to draw fashions and clothing," she said. "I thought at that time that I might want to be a designer."

Shobukhova was born in the small, rural town of Beloretsk. Despite the pine-laden landscape and and ski resort that helped earn the town the nickname "Little Switzerland," he upbringing was less idyllic. As a child of the Cold War, poverty ran rampant as communism crumbled in the old USSR. "Empty stores, parents didn't get their salaries for several months," Shobukhova recalled in a Running Times profile. "Our parents jumped out of their skin, if only to provide food for me and my other two sisters."


How tall is she? How old is she? Where does she live? Find out here.

Age: 39 years old
Birthday: November 13, 1977
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 115 lbs.
Birthplace: Beloretsk, Russia
Current Residence: Beloretsk, Russia

Check out Liliya Shobukhova hot pics and sexy photos.



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