Have you heard of the granola love story?

During a run training session for Powerman Malaysia back in 2019, Sheikh Ali Imran (Shake) ran beside Salmah Hasan (Shasha) and they both started talking. After the session, Shake ordered a pack of granola from Shasha (her side hustle to her sports community friends) but he did not have any cash on him to make payment.

Once he returned home, he got in touch her through the mobile number on the granola sticker and asked for payment details. And that’s how this granola love story started.

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Fast forward to 2021. The couple has recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary on 8 February, and attributed their same passion for sports, singing and dancing for their mutual attraction.

33-year old Terengganu-born Shasha works as an analyst in and oil and gas company, while 28-year old Shake from Kajang is a personal and fitness trainer.

ToughASIA caught up with the ‘granola couple’ to find out what keeps their relationship crunchy and full of goodness.

ToughASIA: Who started running first?

Shasha: In general, I started to get actively involved in running first and slowly participated in running events since 2011. I had always loved to run as compared to other sports in school. Meanwhile, Shake hates running.

Shake: I started to run after joining the Port Dickson Triathlon 2017  as a swimmer in a relay team. Since then, I started getting interested in joining triathlon. Subsequently, I had no choice because running is necessary in triathlon and that’s my weakest discipline.

ToughASIA: What inspired you to take up running?

Shasha: Other than to keep fit and to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Shake loves food a little bit too much. So as to balance it out, workout is the best way. Other than that, it is the best time to clear up my mind before I start my day. It is like a booster for my brain and my body.

ToughASIA: Did you ask your husband to pursue running with you?

Both of us were already involve in running when we met. Even the first time we met was when we both running during brick training for Powerman 2019 in Putrajaya together with the SA Bike Team by Shahrom Abdullah.

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ToughASIA: How does it feel to have a competitive husband in the same sport?

Shasha: Hahaha. To be honest, I won’t let my husband to run faster than me in any marathon events. So, I will train my best to keep my best time because that’s the only discipline in triathlon that I can beat him!

ToughASIA: What keeps you both running together now, even when there are no races?

Shasha: Food! Especially we love home cook and always cook our meal on daily basis. Haha. On the serious note, it is because we want to maintain our fitness level. Races will come anytime soon (Finger crossed). Let’s train our body to always be ready when the time comes.

ToughASIA: Who has the more expensive shoes? Do you buy each other shoes as gifts or rewards?

We will buy the same shoes brand, similar price but only with different colours. Every time we went out to look for shoes, we will spend for hours just to look for the same shoes regardless if we have to go to a few shops just to get what we both want.

Yes, we always reward each other not only with running shoes in specific, but with other sports items for our self-motivation.

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This competitive couple ran the KLSCM VR twice to record their best times.

ToughASIA: What is the most memorable race you have competed in together or when you have supported one another?

Shasha: Shake surprised me when he came all the way with his mother to Johor for Educity Duathlon Race in Feb 2019 to become my supporter. We had just got to each other for two weeks at that time.

Shake: At the 2019 Sultan Mahmud Bridge Marathon in Terengganu, I overtook her in the last 200 meters and my timing was about 40 seconds ahead of Shasha. That was a victory considering she never lets me beat her in running.

ToughASIA: Can you describe one virtual race which you have both joined?

Shasha: Recently, in the 2020 Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon Virtual Race we both ran the race twice in a week to get our best time. Yes, we are looking forward to join more virtual races in the future.

ToughASIA: What are your next couple goals?

Our goal is to be able to join running, triathlon and duathlon events in other countries and at the same time to enjoy our honeymoon and vacation together as a couple.

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If they did not dabble into running or triathlon, Shasha would imagine herself as a Zumba instructor or pursuing an interest in Toastmaster, while Shake would likely be involved in go-karting. Well, fortunately, they are into triathlon and granola too!

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Shake and Sha Sha also enjoys cycling together on two wheels.