Gezmu typically fit her training in around a housekeeping job she kept at a nearby hotel, according to Le Parisien, often rising at 5 a.m. to run and working later, earning less than approximately $270 per week. She was a refugee who relied heavily on her athletic performances at races to supplement her income and hoped to have enough to send some money home to her mother, Le Parisien reports.
“There are not many like her, who get up at 5 a.m. to train, morning and evening, after cleaning a hotel,” Valat told the newspaper. “What mattered to her was to perform.”
News reports indicate that Gezmu, who had arrived in France in 2011, had attempted to gain French citizenship, but her language skills were not high enough to pass the test.
In addition to her marathon running, the IAAF said Gezmu also won numerous 10K, half marathon, and cross-country races in France in recent years.