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Age is no barrier for seven local athletes

Jiménez, Carrillo, Duarte, Martín, Romero, Peyrallo and Casado ahead of their Poland trip.
Jiménez, Carrillo, Duarte, Martín, Romero, Peyrallo and Casado ahead of their Poland trip. / ÑITO SALAS
  • These 'Malagueños' have headed to the World Masters Athletics Championships Indoor in Poland this week

In sport, if you think that age matters, you're making a mistake. Believing that a number can prevent you from reaching the elite is wrong. Just ask the seven 'Malagueño' athletes who have this week joined 280 others from across the country at the World Masters Athletics Championships Indoor in Torun (Poland).

This competition, which got under way on Sunday and runs until tomorrow, 30 March, sees Fernando Peyrallo and Ana Martín take part in the 10-kilometre race walk, and Santiago Jiménez, José Manuel Romero, José María Carrillo, José Duarte and José Luis Casado in the half marathon.

Enthusiasm, passion and, above all, fun. This is what first brought together this group of friends who have known each other since 2006, when they decided to start competing in sports events together across the world.

The biggest to date has been the '5 marathons, 5 continents' initiative, held between 2009 and 2012, which saw sponsors pay one euro for each kilometre completed. All of the proceeds went to Save the Children to help the most disadvantaged children in society.

Since then, this group of veteran athletes has continued searching for competitions in which they can participate and do what they like best, even if, as they told SUR ahead of their departure to Poland last week, that the possibility of a medal was a long shot.

That's not to say that they won't be competitive. After all, Casado managed to finish a marathon in two hours and 51 minutes, Carrillo ran the whole Camino de Santiago in ten days and Ana Martín won the 10km race walk in Montenegro in 2006.

Motivation

"I'm especially thrilled to be wearing the Spanish national team jersey," said Santiago Jiménez, a sentiment echoed by the whole team. "Being able to represent my country is a source of pride."

However, that is not their only motivation. "The example you set for the rest of the family is tremendous; if parents do sports, children do," said Ana Martin, dentist, mother, wife and veteran walker.

But come what may in Poland, these veteran athletes know that a lot still lies ahead for them, even if it is just as an excuse to continue meeting up.

After Torun comes Toronto in 2020. "Of course we'll be there - and I mean all of us!" said Fernando Peyrallo. "We'll be in Toronto!"