Ana is making her debut in the Valencia Marathon this year; Tato is facing his seventh contest in the City of Running. Two lives, two realities, and the same challenge. This is how they are living the challenge with SPORCKS.
December. Valencia. Marathon. The Valencia event has set a new standard, becoming the pride of a city that is emerging as a pole of attraction for the international running community.
There is something about this race and this city (the City of Running for many years now) that makes people watch the post-summer months in view of completing the challenge that the 42,097-meter marathon represents, and which can more than hold its own against the Majors.
The dream of crossing the lagoon of the City of Arts and Sciences over its blue walkway attracts more and more amateur athletes every year. In 2022, 30,000 runners will meet once again at the starting line to feel their heartbeats start racing to the chords of “Libre” by Nino Bravo.
Many stories, dreams, and promises uniting in a mixture of emotions that are always associated with a person’s name. At SPORCKS, we will take a look at two stories. Ana’s and Tato’s. A beginner with all her hesitations, hopes and fears, and a Vietnam veteran who cannot conceive of starting the Christmas season without heating up on first weekend of December on the tumultuous streets of the City of Running.
Ana is a doctor, and she hated running when she was a child. Now she is counting down the hours to her first marathon. Sports have been around at home: tennis, skiing, soccer… The Medical Licensing Examination brought this doctor to Valencia, where she got caught in the City of Running’s snare.
Enrolled in the ranks of the massive Redolat Team, Ana is counting down the hours to putting on her race bib and running 22 kilometers through Valencia. The big moment arrives, and your mind cannot rest. Fears? Pressure? Happiness? Emotions run high, but there’s something inside us that tells us we’re ready.
“Valencia is the city where I got caught by the sport, and that’s why I wanted to run the marathon here. After my first half marathon, six more came, and I decided to make a jump to the big-time distance. The atmosphere that people experience in the city is incredible, and I wanted to feel it,” says Ana.
Tato Aguilera is a war veteran. He runs with 365Rider and is facing his ninth marathon, his sixth in Valencia. 2.39:34 is his record time in the race. The years and the training sessions go by, but his passion for Valencia remains.
“I’ve been able to race in several places, but Valencia is special. The atmosphere, knowing that you’re running at home, in front of your family and friends… it’s an indescribable feeling. Also, the circuit is perfect for pushing yourself hard. It’s a marathon, but in Valencia you know you can give it your all,” he confesses.
A few days before the big start.
There are days left before the big start, and some ghosts appear. It has been months of hard work. Although it is true that the weather, as nearly always in Valencia, has cooperated, all those kilometers can weigh you down. You don’t always feeling like doing series training, and above all, there are lots of hours spent alone. The plan is made, but fears arise. The mental battle has begun.
“The training sessions… well, some went better than others. I’ve had small injuries and pains that I didn’t expect. Balancing them with my work shifts has been difficult, more than I expected,” says Ana, with some resignation.
“Welcome to the club!” replies Tato, a businessman and father of two children.
The moment the race starts is already projected in Ana’s mind: “My parents and my brothers are going to be there, and that motivates me, but I know that uncertainty and nerves are going to show up. The truth is that I like that moment, with its shot of adrenaline, waiting for them to give the starting signal. It’s a mixture of nerves and fear… Will I be able to finish? It’s the big question that’s assailing me.”
“Have no doubt that you’ll manage it. It’s a lot of hours, but the day of the race is the day for enjoying it, especially in your debut. You’ve carried out your plan, and your race bib will give you wings. You have a plan, so stick with it. The worst thing is getting here, and now it’s time to enjoy it,” replies Tato, whom the blue carpet of the City of Art knows perfectly well.
Valencia is the goal
“I’m not aiming for a great finishing time. I want to run a good race, enjoy every moment, enjoy the people… I only ask my head for it to let me enjoy all of that”. Ana assumes that the 42 kilometers will be no walk in the park, but she hopes her goal is clear to her.
“To have fun. I’m not asking for more. The marathon is a sacrifice, but it’s like a ‘little bug’ inside you that gets you moving after the summer, and you can’t shut it off. I’ve experienced all kinds of things after my nine starts, and now I hope to have a good time. The feeling of hugging Paco and Vega after crossing the finish line is better than any possible finishing time.” This is how Tato talks, this is how a marathon runner talks. December 4th is the date. Ana and Tato are ready, and this is how they have shown us their experiences in SPORCKS. Stories about the marathon, about Valencia, and about life, that we are certain will have the best possible ending. We have activated marathon mode.