He cannot contain himself with joy. And it is no wonder: being a marathon runner at 47 years old is a sign of discipline and love for the sport. In this interview she demonstrates it.
Originally from La Zarza but a resident of Villanueva de la Serena, she is married to Antonio Martínez and is the mother of two daughters, Alba and Lucía. She has a degree in Economic Sciences, she currently directs the economic management of the SES in the Don Benito Health Area. She is a great sports fan, at 47 years old she has just run the New York marathon.
How was the experience of finishing the most popular marathon in the world?
The experience has been spectacular in every way. Leaving our country with a group of teammates and finishing fills you with happiness and is one of the best feelings you can have for a team of fans like us.
What prompted you to participate in the race?
Approximately 5 years ago, a colleague who does international marathons told us that when he turned 50 he ran the New York marathon and that he liked it so much that to celebrate his 60th anniversary he wanted to repeat. My companions told him that on this occasion he would not go alone. Back then I didn’t run more than 10 or 15 kilometers with a lot of effort, so I didn’t even consider it, although I got the bug.
Had you run other marathons before?
Yes, my first marathon was in April, in Madrid. I felt physically very well and I decided to prepare it.
What sensations are experienced before, during and after the race?
A lot of nerves. When you are training and preparing for the marathon, you calm down, but as the date approaches, the nerves appear.
During the race the general feeling was happiness, especially seeing a city like New York take to the streets on a cold and rainy day to cheer on the runners. People, upon reading your name on the shirt, encouraged you by shouting “Let’s go, Ana”. When you cross the finish line you feel so happy that, although you are very tired, you never lose the smile on your face.
A marathon has a great component of mental strength. Do you have to prepare a lot in this regard?
Yes, I think a marathon can only be done by those who want to, “wanting is power.” Once you are mentally prepared, the rest is a matter of training, of discipline.
What was the best moment of the race?
The best moment was when I saw my sister, my brother-in-law and my nephews at mile 17. My heart was bursting explaining to them how happy I was.
And the worst?
I haven’t had any bad moments. There was so much crowd that it didn’t let you break down at any time.
What image or images do you have of the race?
Of course with entering the finish line, it is the moment in which it is guaranteed that you have achieved it.
Is it very expensive to participate in the New York Marathon? How much does registration cost, for example?
Yes. I bought the bib through travel agencies specialized in marathons and it cost me 500 euros. The economic sacrifice has been worth it.
At an organizational level, what aspects would you highlight about the race?
The organization borders on perfection, since providing an outlet for some 55,000 people must not be easy. At each mile they give you a glass with an isotonic drink and another with water, so you do not feel, at any time, the need for sugar.
And on a personal level, what has it meant to finish the test?
For me it was a challenge for a group of runners with no more importance than the fact of finishing one more race, but the social impact it has had has moved me very much.
What is the atmosphere like inside and outside the race?
Awesome. For a city as large as New York, the marathon is the most popular event. They paralyze the center of the city, they cut off the main roads, people take to the streets and in addition to cheering you up, they give you food: candy, chocolate bars, salty sticks…
What advice would you give to those who are starting to run or intend to do so?
I always say that if I do it, anyone can. You just need mentalization. Despite the bad days, you should never give up.
How was the day after? Recovery, rest?
Having the feeling of being a hero in New York is one of the most exciting things there is. The marathon runners come out in the days following the race with their medal hanging and the police and soldiers stand at attention when they see you. People cross the street if necessary to congratulate you, children look at you with admiration and you smile at them. With this expectation, no rest is necessary, you go shopping and show off the medal.
How much time have you spent and what did the training consist of?
Once you are prepared to run a half marathon, training is no longer difficult, it is a matter of discipline. For this marathon I have trained for 3 months in sessions 3 days a week, two days of 12 or 14 kilometers and another day, usually Sunday, with training between 18 and 30.
How was the day of the race: time to get up, breakfast, departure…?
The night before the race I couldn’t sleep. A bus picked us up at five in the morning to take us to the starting line. We had to wear a lot of clothes over the equipment with which we were going to run since it was cold, clothes that had to be donated. At the starting field you could have breakfast again, although with your nerves you didn’t feel like it, since most of them had had a good coffee with toast and bananas for breakfast.
What was the race strategy?
The only strategy was to stay together at the speed of the slowest, and so we did.
What did you feel when you saw and crossed the finish line?
Emotion in its purest form.
Are you considering running more marathons?
Yes, at the moment I don’t know which one, but I would like to run the New York marathon again one day, with my daughters and my husband.