The city and the Valencia Marathon welcomes elite runners
The Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon and the city of Valencia gave a huge welcome to the elite athletes that will be competing in the race on Sunday. The opening ceremony is the jump off point to a weekend full of activities, and, of course one of the best marathons in Europe. The event was packed with Valencians, runners, local dignitaries and race organizers.
At the launch event, the race director and president of AIMS, Paco Borao spoke, as did the President of the Trinidad Alfonso Association; Juan Roig. The new mayor of the city, Joan Ribó also gave a speech welcoming the elite runners and all participants to the city. All three speakers expressed their wish for the elite runners to break the course record of 2:07:14. This is the fastest Spanish marathon time in history and was set by Felix Kipkemoi Keny in Valencia. Felix spoke in the name of all African athletes when he said, “This course is fantastic to get fast times. I intend to beat the record time I got here 2 years ago”.
In the name of all international athletes the pro runner Marcelo Mastromarino spoke. Marcelo forms part of the program: ‘From Valencia to Rio’. This scheme gives runners 5,000€, if the time they get in Valencia qualifies them for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. “Valencia is very flat with amazing weather for running in autumn. I appreciate the prize they are giving for runners who qualify for the Olympics.”
Speaking for Spanish runners, Marta Esteban said “I have worked very hard to get here and finish in a good time. I hope I am in form enough to to beat my PB, Valencia is the perfect place to do it”. Marta hopes to qualify for Rio in Valencia.
Juan Roig, the president of the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation took to the microphone to explain why his foundation has injected so much money into the Valencia Marathon and what it means to him personally as a Valencian. “We want Valencia to be one of the best marathons in international running, if we continue to grow at this rate Valencia will become an international reference for excellence”. Roig also gave thanks to the elite runners and international runners who have made the journey to Valencia. “It is an honor to have such a large number of international runners with us, especially the Italians; more than 1,500 that are here for the race”.
The mayor of Valencia Joan Ribó enthused, “The Valencia Marathon has become the shining light of Spanish marathons. Thousands of people are here to run through our streets, it is a great honor to have you here as our guests. The explosion of the event in recent years has been spectacular. Welcome all, I am sure you are going to have a great weekend, and a great race”.
The general public and leading figures of the Valencia running world were present, including all the running clubs and many politicians; Maite Girau (Minister of Sports), Pere Fuset ( Minister of Culture), Carlos Galiana (Ministere of Commerce), Giusseppe Grezzi (Transport Minister), Joan Calabuig (Deputy Mayor), Vicent Marzá (Minister of Education). Other luminaries included; Alicia Moreno (Fallera Mayor of Valencia), Ricardo Arias (beloved ex Valencia FC player), Luis Cervera (General Manager, Valencia FC). Vicente Solá (President Valencia Basketball Club), Fernando Roig (President Villareal FC). Also in attendance were, Executive officers from the military, police and representatives from the race sponsors.
Visit to the city center 5k circuit
Before the speeches, the elite athletes and dignitaries visited the dedicated 5k running track that is open to everybody in the city center river park. The track was mostly funded and managed by the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation. On Saturday the 14th of November at 09:00 there will be the ‘Breakfast Run’. This is a light training session that finishes the 5k course with a tasting session of Valencia produce. There are more than 7,000 runners already signed up for the breakfast run.