Almost 7,000 people took part in the half marathon. /salvador salas

Almost 7,000 people took part in the half marathon. / salvador salas

Almost 7,000 participants in Malaga half marathon

Motivations for running included raising awareness for different causes, personal challenges and love stories in the thirtieth edition of the race, won by Cristóbal Valenzuela and Lola Chiclana

MARINA RIVAS

Almost 7,000 runners from all age groups and various corners of the world gathered in the streets of the capital of the Costa del Sol this Sunday for the thirtieth edition of the CaixaBank City of Malaga half marathon.

Winner of the men's category was Cristóbal Valenzuela from Cueva de Nerja athletics club, followed by Alberto González and Pablo Salcedo. Top of the women's was Lola Chiclana, also from Cueva de Nerja athletics club, with Sandra Schenkel and Fátima Ouhaddou coming second and third respectively.

For a few hours, thousands of people relived a pleasure that had been forgotten for a year due to the pandemic.

There were smiles, tears, pain, sweat and personal challenges, all of which stemmed from the desire to accomplish a new challenge and feel the emotion of crossing the finish line.

No matter age or gender, every participant wore a wide smile when entering the Malaga city stadium, the starting point for the thirtieth edition of the event.

Each participant had their particular reason to run, such as Borja Chica, winner of the wheelchair category and pushed during the 21 kilometres by one of the representatives from the Flying on Wheels Association: "It's my first half marathon, although I have done a marathon before. It has been very exciting, very emotional. With people like this from the association, I will continue to achieve goals like this," the young man in the wheelchair explained excitedly.

Also in the spirit of giving visibility to crucial causes like this, Encarna Prados, a grandmother from Almuñécar who has been running races of all kinds of distances for 17 years to give visibility to autism, decided to participate.

"I run for my grandson and always run wearing this shirt from the Altea Association of Almería, and now there are many of us who run for him: my son, friends...”

Sergio Fernández from Alhaurín decided to forgo running shoes in favour of typical Mexican footwear similar to sandals, called huaraches.

"Why trust trainers and not our anatomy. There are many knee injuries caused by having too much cushioning and stepping too much on your heel which then forces you to step a little more on your toes…I've been like this for seven years, even running trails and marathons without shoes," he explained just after passing the finish line.

Accompanied by a baby stroller, the Korean and Malaga resident Han Soo Kim pushed the youngest participant of the race, his son: "He has done very well, very good atmosphere and he has slept the whole race. I usually train with him on the promenade and without him I wouldn't have run it. He is only 9 months old so it's his first big race; I hope he becomes an athlete," he joked.

One local man ran the whole race and crossed the finish line with a skipping rope. "I'm from Aliquindoi, an open water swimming club. We also run and for us there is nothing that isn’t possible. Many people run, but with a skipping rope... The idea came up and I have achieved it, it has been brutal but everything has gone fantastically," explained Javier Cortés, without any sign of fatigue.

After almost three hours, everyone present waited expectantly for the final person to finish the race, a young Colombian named Estefanía Moreno, who, with a wide smile, concluded her first big race.

"It's my first half marathon and I am very proud to have run it here in Malaga, I chose it because my boyfriend signed up for 2019 but due to the pandemic, he could not run it. So he told me that he would be very happy if I ran this edition with him here in Malaga…I have done it for him, he finished a little earlier than me, of course," she said humorously.