She served out a two-year ban from the sport and is now back racing again.
Liza Hunter-Galvan made it look easy last Sunday. The New Zealand two-time Olympian broke the tape at the Christchurch Marathon first in 2:45:31. But something stands out about Hunter-Galvan’s performance: two years ago, she was caught doping (EPO) and was banned from the sport.
Her race in Christchurch on Sunday was Hunter-Galvan’s first return to competition since the ban was lifted.
Hunter-Galvan, a mother of four and 41 years old, admitted she was nervous about how she would be treated at the start line by other athletes.
“It was not too bad. Some people looked at me sideways,” she recalls.
Gabrielle O’Rourke, a former New Zealand representative, had expressed concerns beforehand about toeing the line with Hunter-Galvan, but was there at the finish to congratulate her on her win.
Looking back on her drug use, Hunter-Galvan admits it was a mistake.
“It was stupid what I did but it is not a reflection of me as a person,” she admits. “All the pressures of trying to get onto teams and keep running fast didn’t help. It was a really tough time and I never want to be in that situation again.”
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