Karl Alfred Erber is an Austrian in love with Barcelona -and ‘socio’ of Barça- who will run his tenth Zurich Marató Barcelona. It will be his 131st marathon overall. He wants to feel the tears flow again when he hears the notes of the song ‘Barcelona’ by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé at the start line.

Karl Alfred Erber’s love for Barcelona goes back a long time. In the 1980s one, of his father’s colleagues brought him the crest of FC Barcelona after a visit to the city. He later got excited about the 1992 Olympic Games, and the song ‘Barcelona’ by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé started to be part of the soundtrack of his life.

After starting running for fun, his idyll with the mythical distance of Phyllipides began in 2002. He made his debut in Vienna, near his home, and his enthusiasm for the 42-kilometre race just continued to grow. He wanted to combine his two great passions and run the Barcelona Marathon in 2005, but unfortunately the race was not held that year (the only time it happened since 1978). His dream finally became a reality in 2010, wanting to kill several birds with one stone. “I was able to fulfil my dream. Travelling to Barcelona for the first time with the idea of running the Marathon and seeing the Camp Nou as I ran”. Erber recalls that it snowed in the city the following day, which is rather unusual. “It was snowing in the temple of football!”, says the keen Barça fan.

Since that first visit, Karl Alfred’s links to the Catalan city have become even stronger: “What I most like about Barcelona is the Camp Nou”. He also mentions the sea, Gaudí, the culture that the city breathes and “some places off the tourist beaten track”. Running through the streets of Barcelona helps him to enjoy his favourite city even more, and he excitedly recalls magical nights in the Camp Nou, such as “the five goals Barça put past Real Madrid in 2010, the 4-0 score against AC Milan or the 6-1 victory against PSG”. He is ‘socio’ of Barça and watches all the matches, either in the Camp Nou -when he can come- or on TV at home.

He likes going to Barcelona “more and more”, and his visits have become frequent. On 15th March 2020 he will run his tenth Barcelona Marathon: “The atmosphere, the city and the good organisation” are the features he highlights. Naturally, his best memories are when he runs past the Camp Nou and hears the song ‘Barcelona’ at the start. “The tears just flow”, he admits.

The Zurich Marató Barcelona will be Karl Alfred’s 131st marathon. Quite a feat! He has run most in Blumau (near Graz, in Austria) -up to 30 times- followed by Berlin (17 times) and Vienna (11). He has also run marathons in, among other places, Lisbon, Madrid, Málaga, Ravenna, Cologne, Frankfurt, Prague, Oslo or Tel Aviv, but nothing beats this one. “There’s nothing like Barcelona. It’s pure emotion”.