25 years. 25 histories.
The last story and one of the last positions of the Valencia Half Marathon is for the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, who have come from Italy specifically for this race. 50 are running for the fight against breast cancer. They are heroes twice. By their struggle and their efforts they have won the recognition of all mediomaratonianos of this edition.Rosa del Toro Pastelero is one of those runners that can’t stop thinking about putting on her trainers and going out running every day. She has been regularly running for 4 years, but, she says “ever since she was young, when she was 4 years old, running was already part of my life”. Rosa, a 30-year-old nutritionist, signs up for every race that comes up. And to continue the habit, she will also participate in the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon. Another ValenciaRunner Girl who will be in the trial and enjoying the best race on Spanish soil. “This will be my third Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon, but I was injured recently and now I can only think about enjoying the race, atmosphere, and running through my city”.Patxi Irigoyen de Prado (40) has been around the block of life a few times and is a clear example of perseverance and knows how to enjoy everything good sport has to offer. He has lived for more than 20 years with cystic fibrosis and all of the impediments the disease brings. He couldn’t play with his friends when he was a kid or do sport. He had to stop work. He coughed up blood. A moment came when he was offered surgery on both lungs. Fear made his think about it a lot, but in the end he decided to do it because his health was at the limit. After 12 hours in surgery, and after having suffered 2 cardiorespiratory stops, he came out of surgery with two healthy lungs and a life in front of his to enjoy. After climbing two mountains more than 6,000 meters high, and running in several marathons, this year his challenge is the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon along with the Valencian Cystic Fibrosis Association. There is no target time, the only objective is to demonstrate that you can live with this disease and that anyone affected has a life in front of them to enjoy.Sofía Sánchez de Lara has had to wait until the 2015 edition of the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon to debut in the trial. She is one of the youngest runners in the trial at only 18 years old, but she has been running since she was 11 and can be considered a near expert. It’s not her first time for this distance because she sometimes trains to this distance, but it is the first time she will officially compete. “I used to go to watch my father and my friends run and I was really jealous. Now it’s my turn”. Sofía emphasized the great atmosphere at the event over the whole weekend and has no other objective than to enjoy it, although she says “I want to do it in around two hours”.It’s Vicente Linuesa Medina’s birthday on the same day as the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon, and more than that – it’s also the same birthday as the race’s: 25 years. He is one of nearly 500 members of the Military Emergency Unit who will take part in the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon. This member of the intervention battalion will run in the race for the second time in Valencia and is very proud “to be able to run it along with my colleagues from the UME”. The coincidence will mean he will have a very memorable birthday running at home while also celebrating the event’s and his own birthday.Víctor Lluch Navarro (40) has spent his life in and around sports as a journalist for the radio station ‘Onda Cero’. This summer Victor decided that he was ready to get off the sidelines and put his sneakers on. In the first week of July he registered as a runner for the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon and and started to train with 2 friends. “I used to go out running now and again but after 3 or 4 days in a row I got tired. When we started running together we all got hooked very soon”, says Victor. But, Victor nearly had to give it all up due to a chest infection he suffered just a few weeks ago, “I ran a 10k in Burjassot, a local village, I thought I wasn’t going to finish, but after a week off running I managed to finish the race, so I will be at the Valencia Half Marathon too”. With the support of his friends and some true grit Victor has got through his sticky patch and is now looking forward to putting in a good time at the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon in two weeks.Without the volunteer staff the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon wouldn’t be the same. Every year hundreds of volunteers from running clubs and the city come together at the event and many months before the starting pistol. The passion and dedication of the volunteer team makes the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon the best Spanish half marathon in terms of atmosphere and professionalism. Every volunteer has a different life and story that contributes to the outstanding success of the event.Jordi Roda Tintó is a 22 year old Valencian studying journalism at the University of Valencia lives for running. Jordi only began to take running seriously 12 months ago. Although Jordi says, “I’m still an amateur” his finishing times for the half marathon and marathon demonstrate the potential for more than just casual running. Jordi has run 3 half marathons and 2 full marathons. As he is from Valencia he has, of course, ran the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half and Full Marathon. This year he will be running both events. “Running in and for my city is an amazing feeling. The weather, atmosphere and organization of the event is better than the other marathons in Spain. Also, this year there is a medal!” Jordi is a young runner without a lot of experience but he has done the half marathon in 1h21’. This year “I hope to run in less than 1h15’ and be one of the top runners on the promising category”.Gema Payá Baldó, 29 years old from Alcoy but living in Valencia is better known by her pseudo name, ‘Miss Leggings Run’. Gema is very influential in the nexus between running and fashion for women. This will be Gema’s third half marathon and her second Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon. In 2014 Gema ran the event just to enjoy herself and finish, this year she has been training more seriously and hopes to finish with a PB. Unfortunately in the last month Gema has picked up an ankle injury that means she is really up against it to recover in time for the event. Even if she doesn’t run Gema will still be a part of the event through her blog which has a massive following. Gema used to run for fun but now because of her blog, running mixed with fashion has become her way of earning a living. One thing you can be sure of, if you see Gema running, she will be the most stylish runner you see all day.Manuel Patricio del Pino is a great example for anybody that is thinking about losing weight by leading a healthy lifestyle. At 40 years old and weighing 130 kilos (286 lb) he decided to put his sneakers on and tackle the problems his weight was causing him. “I was in a bad way, desperate to lose weight, I had no confidence, I wasn’t a person, I never wanted to leave the house”. Manuel set his objectives and hit the streets. Manuel started to enjoy running and got down to 90 kilos by running and eating more healthily. Now at 43 years old and with 10 half marathons under his belt he will take part in his second Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon. The fact that people often tell him that he is an example to them is “more than enough reward for all the hard work”, says Manuel.Pascual Fos Claver at 30 years old would definitely describe himself as a runner and a trainer. This is his second Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon but he has run many half marathons around Spain before this. He prepared his brother in law for the race last year and he ran alongside him. Pascual acted as pace maker for his brother in law, pushing him all the way to finish with a good time. This year Pascual returns to run the Valencian Half marathon with even more vim and vigor. Not only will Pascual be running the half marathon he will also be running the Trinidad Alfonso Marathon on the 15th of November with his own brother.Francesc Gallego Abdón is one of the oldest competitors in the Valencian half marathon. At 80 years old he has lost count of the amount of long distance events that he has run. He has run all over the world including the Niagara Marathon and the Czech Republic. Francesc considers himself a noob as he only started running 30 years ago when he was 50! Although he has ‘only’ been running for 30 years Francesc was a dedicated gymnast in his younger years until he started running. “I have been around the world at least twice running” says Francesc, but he now feels it is time for him to hang up his sneakers; this will be his last long distance event. Francesc will not be giving up casual jogging to stay in shape until his body gives up. Francesc aims to enjoy his last event with a smile on his face even though he knows he won’t be able to smash younger runners like he used to. Francesc is a great example of how an active life can lead to a wonderful golden age.
Domingo Cortés Patrón, 46 years old, was one of the last participants in the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon to cross the finish line in 2014. Having spent more than 15 without running, he decided to put his running shoes back on and now he wants to do it again. After participating in Madrid, he wants to come back to “the city that inspires him the most, Valencia” to compete and “feel that tingling desire to run”. What makes the trial special for him is the organisation, “because there are a lot of villages that do half-marathons, but in Valencia everything is very well organised” and it lets him to explore the city.Jose Vicente Escudero Carrero will run his first half-marathon in Valencia, and he’ll do it for a good cause. Jose Vicente is from Aranjuez, he is 37 years old and suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, but that doesn’t stop him from living in his running shoes. He already had the idea that he wanted to run something more than the 10Ks he is used to, and when he saw that the solidarity organisation of the event was the Valencian Cystic Fibrosis Association he didn’t hesitate for a second to sign up for the trial and he called them to participate in the solidarity challenge. His objective in the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon is double: to improve himself and to help the Valencian Cystic Fibrosis Association in its goal.
Fleur Van de Put, 39 years old, runs and guides many of the foreigners who decide to participate in the foot race in Valencia. She comes from the Netherlands, but is based in Valencia and knows the city like nobody else because she is a special kind of tourist guide. Fleur shows the biggest tourist attractions, like the riverbed, the beach, and the historic centre, by running through the zones. And she also does tours by bike. She can’t stop running, and also does it in her free time, and this year is running the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon for the third time. The distance and the organisation are, for her, “what she loves about the trial” and what makes her stay involved.
Gemma Martínez Ibáñez wants to boast being Valencian wherever she goes and so she has decided to run the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon so she can talk about in the newspaper Expansión. Gemma, 43 years old, who has lived nearly 20 of them away from Valencia, is returning to enjoy “the good things that are done at home” and to run in front of her family. She signed up as soon as the subscriptions opened because “I’ve always wanted to do it”. The Valencian trial will be her second half-marathon after having the chance to run in the Zaragoza half-marathon in May, but where she really has experience is in triathlons. Her next objective will be the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia marathon. A Valencian that is still enchanted by her homeland through running.
Marcial Ferri Villalba runs without being able to hear, but that doesn’t stop him enjoying running to the maximum. He’s been deaf for 40 years, but his disability only makes him more proud of the way he is. This will be his 10th half-marathon and his second in Valencia, which for him is “a unique experience” because it’s the city he was born in and he can see the beauty of the city while in the best half-marathon in Spain. Every year Marcial only thinks about going forward for the affection that people offer, especially his friends and colleagues in the running squad.
Miguel Ángel Plaza Benita (48) is a complete champion in the marathon world. In August, in Lyon (France), the veteran was rewarded with a title and became the world champion for the distance. Temperance, honesty, and constancy are his key skills. Being a Cárnicas Serrano runner, everything about the Valencian trials is normal for him, and this year, the 25th Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon is among his goals.
Angela Wu is possibly the most exotic runner in the trial. She comes from New Zealand and is here because she fell in love with a Valencian she met last year. It’s her second half-marathon after the Cambridge trial in March 2014 and she is coming to Valencia to run the race faster than in 2014. What motivates her the most is being able to run in Valencia along with her partner. When it’s time to train that’s what helps her to carry on. “Running with him should be something to remember”, she says. Crossing the planet for someone, and being able to run the best race in Spain definitely has its perks.
Toni Ferrer Navarro, a 39-year-old runner from Redolat, is not a typical runner. He was the champion in the last edition of Running Fallero in the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia half-marathon, “the first among Valencian mortals”, he says. It was a great joy for him to come first place because “it’s another motivation and you get to take a prize away”. But Toni is one of the heroes of Spanish athletics who has had gold hung around his neck. Toni competed in the Spanish veteran runners’ selection, and last year, along with the national team, he won the top prize in the world championships. Toni needs to compete all year, and so he uses his rest periods to keep clocking up miles in foot races. For Toni Ferrer, it’s “great” to run through Valencia. “That’s priceless” he says.Lucía Prats Sánchez Ferragut (44) is making her debut in the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon this year. Lucia is a very common example for all of us that do some road running, maybe even for a few years, and wonder if we have it in us to run a half marathon. Lucía has been running for 3 years and decided that 2015 would be the year. Lucía, from San Fernando, decided to run her first long distance in the town as she wanted to experience the amazing atmosphere from the track as a competitor for a change. Lucia’s running friends were ecstatic to hear she was going to make the jump and do an event. Lucia is also more than happy to do her first event in Valencia as she is well aware that the courseis incredibly flat! Lucia is counting down the days to her first 21 KM.Paco Ferriols is what it says on his passport but everybody knows him by the name on his competitor number: ‘Groucho’. Why would you choose to be known as Groucho to all the other runners? Well, Paco didn’t really choose the name himself. Over the years, Paco became known as the guy that would put a smile on your face and cheer you up just as you were lagging in the race. More than one runner (if not thousands) owe him a hug and a handshake for giving them a dose of laughter just when they needed it most! He might not have a cigar, moustache or glasses but if you are flagging, make sure you find Groucho!!
Eric Polo Caparrós (36) is much more than a runner. He may have only ran 4 events but he is one of the most recognized faces in the ranks of Valencia long distance runners. Well, that is him and his son, Joel… Eric runs for AVAPACE (Valencian Paralysis Association) and while he is running the marathon his son also takes part from the specially adapted wheel chair that Eric pushes while running. This is no money-raising leisurely running, last year Eric and his son finished their half marathon in 1:19! This is an incredible feat for any amateur runner but also you should take into account that Eric’s son is growing bigger every year and weighs more this year! Despite this, Eric aims to lower his time this year and enjoy the race as much as his son always does. Eric and Joel are an example for us all.
Recaredo Agulló Albuixech (68) knows the history of Valencian running like nobody else, and he also makes history every time he runs. Recaredo was a founding father in the Valencia Marathon Movements and he is one of the elite club of ‘old boys’ who have run more Valencian long distance events than anyone else. Recaredo doesn’t run as much as he used to, as now he is a well known broadcaster and commentator.
Recaredo is the voice of the Valencian Half Marathon, his comments, humor, passion and enthusiasm help the spectators understand the event more deeply and the runners will be able to understand him no matter where they are from as Recaredo speaks Spanish, Valencian, French and English.
Marisa Martínez Legarreta is a historic figure in the world of Valencian long distance running and she is no stranger to podiums. Marisa was the first woman to smash the 3 hour mark in the female full marathon in Valencia. Now, after many years without running in events, Marisa has decided to return to running in the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon; a place very close to her heart. Not only is it where she smashed the 3 hour mark but it is also where she is from and she wishes to relive some of those experiences with a crowd that adores her.
Marisa has more than 100 competitive races in her locker, more than enough to retire and put her feet up. However, at the age of 64 she has decided to put her trainers back on! Marisa represents the famous SD Correcaminos running club, on the 18th of October you will see her adding another 21km to her list of greatest hits.