Jordi Fernández (54 years) and Xavi Nadal (49) will celebrate next 10th of March 2019, a very special wedding of silver. They will run the Marathon of Barcelona for the 25th consecutive year.
What does it mean for you to take part in 25 consecutive marathons of Barcelona?
Jordi Fernández: it is for me very special as it demonstrates that my physical and mental health is strong after 25 years. We are in times of changes and to live a lot of different experiences. It’s not my case as I enjoy running marathons, specially, in my home town. When I was young I was coming as spectator and always said to myself “one day I will run it” and I have done it for 25 consecutive years and desire to run many more.
Xavi Nadal: It is a pride and a tradition for me to run 25 editions of the Marathon of Barcelona. After so many years, it is the great athletics appointment of the year and the great race of the city. I have seen its evolutions since my debut in 1989 and after almost 30 years, it has grown in all senses and we have grown up together.
Every marathon leaves you an experience, which has been the most difficult for you?
JF: I think that my debut in the marathon of Barcelona in 1994 left me a sweet and sour flavour due to the illusion of the debut, but the post marathon was very hard, I could neither lower the stairs nor sleep the following night due to legs’ pain. All this was due to the unconsciousness of passing from running medium distances to a marathon without being well prepared.
XN: The marathon of 1992 in the circuit where some months later will be ran the Marathon of the Olympic Games. I suffered a heat blow, it was very hot and the raised to the Stadium was hard. I needed assistance of the Red Cross in the Stadium.
And the easiest one?
JF: Those helping my friends to reach their objectives, as you go to a pace lower than yours, so you enjoy much more a marathon. The fact of taking care, of spoiling, of encouraging… gives a point of solidarity. I have some examples as with my friend Oscar in the Marathon of Barcelona 2018 where we manage to make 3h20 or with Nico in Rotterdam, where we did 3h35.
XN: none of them, but the most grateful was that of 1994, when I finished for the first time in less than 3 hours (2:48) in the old circuit from Mataró to Barcelona and with the finish line in the Stadium of Montjuic, improving the training and with the experience of 5 marathons.
How would you define the Marathon of Barcelona?
JF: I would define it as the Mediterranean marathon of reference, due to its climate, its light, its atmosphere and its tourist and emblematic route.
XN: The race of excellence of the city and probably of Catalonia. Nowadays, it is the running party in Barcelona and one of the biggest of Europe, with margin of growth.
You have taken part in the Marathon of Barcelona for many years, what changes have you seen from the first editions?
JF: The evolution has been huge to all levels, from the change of route as initially we were starting from Mataró, finishing in the Olympic Stadium, to the current circuit, much more tourist. I have observed that the respect for the distance has disappeared and now, much more people dare with the 42.195 meters, so the average level of records is lower now, the important thing is to finish the race. Another one of the aspects that has more evolved is the clothes, the material and technological complements. The popular runner nowadays looks after himself much more in all the aspects: training, nutrition, sports medicine, material… An industry has been developed around running, everything is under control.
XN: At the beginning of the ‘90s, far from fashion and running, only 3.000 ran a marathon. It was more familiar and the incorporation of debutants was very gradual. Nowadays, with almost 20.000 runners, it has been opened for many areas of population to which before it was not coming. It has a more international participation and its organization has been professionalized.
Which is your objective for this year?
JF: I would like to beat my own record. That would be great for my 25th consecutive participation. It is difficult, but not impossible. I will try it again but each year, it is more difficult to go a bit faster.
XN: First, to enjoy-suffer. For me, it goes together. Secondly, to try to keep under 3h, as it has been for the last 20 editions.
In your trainings, is there any remarkable exercise?
JF: I like a lot the series, as they are very important to improve resistance and speed. I do them every Thursday in the athletics stadium of Cornella with a group of 40 runners of Corredors.cat with our trainer Jordi Ballesteros. An exercise, complementary to each training of series, is the technical session where the group talks about the training drinking a beer. The importance of the group and the socialization of the long-distance runner is a very important part of the training that helps you to overcome the moments of doubt or discouragement.
XN: More than an exercise, I would emphasize two kinds of training: first the work of the objective pace of a marathon and controlled sessions with changes of pace, long training, stairs, and raises.
Which advice would you give to the runners who want to run a marathon for the first time?
JF: To enjoy without thinking about the time. The important thing is that when they finish, they want to run another one, that is a sign that they have enjoyed it. It is very important to be stopped during the first half, to be prudent up to km. 35. It is very important to know yourself well and not to fix unaffordable objectives.
XN: not to have hurry. It is a fantastic race but it deserves a great dedication and experience. To enjoy the race and if they can, to have a trainer who knows well the distance.
Which is your major source of motivation to compete year after year?
JF: For me, running is so important as eating or sleeping. I am conscious that I am already 54 years old and that I will never turn to make the records of 15-20 years ago in short distances. What drives me is to share running with a group of friends and to enjoy together. I also enjoy running as a pacemaker in many races where the experience helps me to run to a determined pace without looking at the watch. It is very satisfying that a stranger says you “thank you” smiling after ending a race having a flag in the back.
XN: My motivation is very varied. I like very much running in general, not only races or marathons. I like sports, health and I want to continue running for many more years.
Have you marked some concrete number or do you expect continue running as a philosophy of life?
JF: I have run 54 marathons, curiously, my age. The truth is that I have not marked any limit. I expect to continue running while I can. 50 marathons in Barcelona would be a fantastic dream, that would mean to arrive to the finish line at the age of 79, ufff, I will try it.
XN: With almost 50 years old, I have not marked myself any limit because running is my way of life. Also running in mountain. Health will be my limit.
Which has been your best time in a marathon?
JF: The 15th of March 2015 in the Marathon of Barcelona; 03:07:19
XN: In the Marathon of Barcelona 2003; 02:38’. I remained 21st in the general classification being 33 years old. I think this is the perfect age for a marathon runner. When you are still very fast and have the necessary experience in this kind of races.
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