top of page

Giovanna Selva Breaking Through

This article is part of our coverage of HOKA partnership with Stramilano 2024.

Every first Saturday of the year, we sit down on the sofa, turn on the TV, and religiously watch the madness going on at Campaccio Cross. Mud, fog, cold, rain, and merciless competition. The legendary cross-country race never misses the expectations. This year all the eyes were on Nadia Battocletti and Francine Niyomukunzi. While the two world-class athletes battled till the end for the final victory, another athlete broke through on the cross-country world stage: Giovanna Selva.

The Italian HOKA athlete is a relatively new name in international races, but well-known on home soil thanks to her fast performances on any distance from 5,000 to a half marathon. Ahead of Stramilano 2024, we talked with Giovanna to learn more about her relationship with running, her past as a trail runner, and her future.

You are currently between track and road running anything from the 5,000m to the half marathon. How is it going?

Yes, I am currently running extended middle distances and I am doing very well. My favorite distance at the moment is the 5,000m, but I loved the half marathon this fall so I can't wait to try it again! However, I think training for short distances is also very useful for long ones. For example, a 1500m to give my legs a good run now and then can only be good!

Your history of track running is relatively young. Over what distance do you think you can get the best results?

I discovered track very late when I was about 17 years old, but I immediately fell in love. I am quite schematic and I appreciate the precision of the track. However, I still haven't figured out where I belong, between the 5,000m and 10,000m, I would like to improve my personal bests a lot in both distances, although I could perhaps do my best in the 10,000m.

Cross country is a discipline in which you've had excellent results, most recently a third-place finish at Campaccio. Do you think that having competed on par with world-class athletes like Nadia Battocletti can lead you to make the ultimate leap to bigger stages?

Yes, the third place at Campaccio this year was unexpected but really beautiful. Running together with an athlete of Nadia's caliber, even if only for part of the race, is very inspiring. It is a good comparison to understand how you are doing and how you can improve by being a little bit longer with the leading group from race to race.

Your background is cross-country skiing and mountain running. In a hypothetical future, do you see yourself competing in mountain running or trail races again after the 2019 World Juniors?

It's possible. I think more about the distances of classic mountain running than long trails. I love running on trails in the woods, I still do it now despite not preparing for that kind of competition so I think I might still compete in my beloved mountains in the future.

Last October, you ran your first half marathon. What did it leave you with and what ambitions do you have for the future on this distance or marathon?

I ran my first half marathon on a course that was not very easy, in which about 5km was very bumpy. I was a bit scared before because I had never run that many kilometers in a race, but then once I started I almost flew. I was focused but I also had fun. I even sprinted to the final with two Polish girls! It was an emotion-filled race that I can't wait to try again.

What are your goals for the 5 years?

Now my main goal is to improve my personal bests on the distances I am running most frequently, from 1,500m to the half marathon. It is a fundamental step before thinking about the Championships because, without a good base, you cannot think of running strong in important competitions. Then, I think that my characteristics allow me to run better on longer distances. Probably, I will focus on those, without forgetting, as I said before, the speed base since, right now, even the marathon is super fast. But, why not try that too one day?


bottom of page