Tag Archives: Sevilla

Maratón de Sevilla 2022

Last Sunday, February 20th, together with my friend Juan and my brother Jaime, I took part in the Sevilla marathon, with over 10,000 runners registered.

Following two years of not having taken part in any marathon due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the three of us subscribed to the marathon following our series of marathons abroad (to combine tourism with long distance running) that has taken us to run together in Roma, Athens, Rotterdam, New York, Sevilla, Madrid, Millau, Lisboa, Vienna, Krakow, Porto and now Sevilla, again.

To prepare for this marathon I followed the same 16-week training plan I had used in the past. I arrived to Sevilla with more mileage (629km) in the legs than in the case of the last few marathons. I trained quite well in November, December and the first week of January. Then, I caught Covid-19 and had to stop running for about 10 days. During the last two weeks of the plan, with workload and work-related travel, I found it difficult to train, but most of the training was already done. In those 16 weeks I averaged over 41km per week, completed 5 long runs (of over 21km, twice 23km, 27km and 30km) and a few sessions of series, though not enough of them to get a bit faster. The negative note was that in the last long run over 21km (just two weeks before the race) I finished very weak and with bad feelings for the race in terms of targeting a pace at or below 4 hours, but still with the confidence of being able to finish it even if the final time was uncertain.

The profile in Sevilla is rather flat. The organization changed the circuit in comparison to the previous times we had taken part in the race. It did not start and finish at the athletics stadium in La Cartuja, but close to the Parque Maria Luisa.

The temperature was fresh in the morning, the sky was clear and it would be a bit hot towards the end of the race, though the temperature did not exceed 19°C. My strategy was to start with a pace just below 6min per km, so that I could target a time slightly below or around 4h15′, with no pacers for that time.

Despite the 10,000 runners taking part in the race, we could easily run from the start at the targeted pace. For the first 16-17 kilometres we ran the three of us together, then my brother Jaime went ahead and Juan and I kept running together until about the half marathon, which we crossed in 2h04’59” net time (at a pace of 5’55” per km). Then, Juan softened his pace and stayed behind. I increased my pace in the second half, finding my brother again at around the km 28 and, after exchanging a few words about how we were doing at that moment, I went forward.

In the second half of the race I found myself quite at ease with the pace and averaged 5’41” per km to achieve a negative split; completing the second half of the marathon in just few seconds below 2 hours.

In the end, I clocked a net time of 4h04’56”, a time better than what I expected (~4h15′). Sevilla 2022 was my 22nd marathon completed, easy to say today but not so on April 30th 2000 when I completed my first one in Madrid.

With those 4h04’56”, I was again above the 4-hour mark and finished in the 5664th real place (or 5721st official place, in the bottom half, though the percentile is not yet clear as the results are temporary), while I overtook over 1,200 runners in the second half of the race. That time makes it my 8th worst marathon, though with a better time than the last two marathons and with a very positive finish, thus, I am already thinking on getting again under 4 hours in the next marathon, possibly next autumn.

This marathon left me some memorable moments:

  • seeing my cousin Marileo and her kids while we passed in front of her house,
  • running several kilometres with Juan and Jaime,
  • the good feelings of the second half marathon.

The organization of the race was great. There were supply posts of water and isotonic drinks very often, thus we did not need to carry bottles at any moment. They provided a very handy and light cap to protect us from the sun. And there were plenty of music stations to cheer us up in the second half of the race.

The marathon in itself was also a success as the winner Asrar Abderehman set a new race record with 2:04:43 (making Sevilla the 13th world fastest marathon) and the Spanish Ayad Lamdassem set a new national record with 2:06:25.

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Marathon Sevilla 2015

“A marathon always offers you the opportunity to do something epic”, Jaime Irastorza (my brother)

After several dozens of races completed in the last years, including 11 marathons and an ultra, on February 22, a race hunted me down. In the last Seville marathon I DNF. I did not finish.

I wrote a post which was published on the morning of the race. In it I explained that I arrived to that marathon in my best shape so far. However, for me the race took place not on the Sunday 22nd February but on Saturday 21st.

I had put much illusion into the event: running in Seville, the attempt at beating my personal best time, being accompanied by family and friends…

On Friday afternoon we went to the marathon expo at the FIBES. There we retrieved our running bibs, got the confirmation that we could start the race together, took our official expo picture and by chance I met elite runner Pablo Villalobos (1), with whom I had exchanged some tweets in the morning.

That evening we had dinner out with friends in the downtown; plenty of different delicious tapas to share. We had some fun… though at the end of the dinner I started feeling weak, and I went back to the hotel instead of staying with the friends to take some drinks.

On Saturday morning I woke up with stomach problems and some diarrhea. I went to the pharmacy to get some pills and rested a few hours. I feared for the race the day after. The hours passed and I felt a little bit better so we went to have lunch with some 14 friends at Puerto Delicia.

Saturday's lunch with friends.

Saturday’s lunch with friends.

After lunch we went for a walk and I started to feel weak again. We went back to the hotel room. By about 18h, in the bed, I started shivering. During the following hour the fever went up and up. At 19h I reached out for the WC to vomit (such a pity of the previous meals!). I called my brother to ask if he could bring me some drinks and food to the room. By 20h he came with some Aquarius and bananas. 10 hours to recover before waking up time, 13 hours to the marathon start time. That was the start of my race during the night in order to take part of the event.

In the following hours I drank, ate and slept bit by bit, until 24h, when I finally put myself to get a long sleep (6 hours).

On Sunday morning at 6am I woke up on the clock alarm. I stood up and it seemed that I felt OK. With that check I went downstairs to have breakfast. I met there Jaime and Juan, who were happy and very surprised to see me there. After the breakfast we took a taxi and departed for the Stadium at La Cartuja, where we met Jose.

The day was sunny though a bit cold. Changing clothes, drinking a bit, seeing the thousands of runners going through the rituals before the race… that cheered me up.

Before the race.

Before the race.

At few minutes before 9am we went to our corral, 3h45’-4h. We chatted with other runners and with that we went off for a good run!

You can see here a good report of the marathon by my brother Jaime.

We went together for the first 13 kilometres. Our target was to run at a pace of 5 minutes per km. We alternated some at a somewhat higher pace with other at a slower pace. At km 7 we saw Luca and Andrea who greeted us from the hotel room.

Passing by the hotel at km 7.

Passing by the hotel at km 7.

By the 10km mark we were just losing some 40″ in relation to our 3h30’ target time.

Running at some point.

Running at some point.

After having drunk at a few supply posts I started feeling some pain in the stomach, like cramps. Something wasn’t working well. I told my brother and Jose to go ahead with their pace and forget about me. I wasn’t sure of the fate of my race. Ten minutes later, at km 15 I stopped at one of the WC cabins. I had to vomit everything I had taken. Not a good signal. I was emptying my reserves and not replenishing sugar nor minerals.

I re-started at a slower pace (~5:15) for some minutes and then decreased it later (~5’20”-5’30”). I passed the half marathon point in 1h52’01”, not a bad time. In theory that would point at a marathon time of around 3h50′. However, the feelings weren’t good.

At the km 22 I was feeling weaker and most important, I started to worry. After the last 24 hours, having vomited everything and not being able to ingest food and liquid, at some point I would run out of glucose. I feared that if I continued to run I would be risking fainting in any moment above around 2 hours. I pondered during some minutes whether to give it a try. “It doesn’t matter if you are well above 4 hours!” I had been there (in those times) before. I had completed other marathons in pain, injured. However, I thought this risk was more serious.

At about km 23 I had decided to quit. I would have other marathons to beat my best time. Other marathons to complete. Other marathon to run with Jaime end to end. But it would not be this one. I continued running softly, seeking out for a taxi. I found it at km 26.6… and then I stepped aside.

With that decision I put an end to my epic fight against the distance of that marathon that day. See the records of my Garmin watch below:

My Garmin data from Seville marathon.

My Garmin data from Seville marathon.

I regretted having quit not even a minute afterwards while seeing the runners along. I even saw Juan from the taxi… but thinking it over a few days later I think it was a good decision. In less than 2 months from that date and just 6 weeks from the date this post is published I will be running the Madrid marathon and there will hopefully be many other marathons to run.

The experience in Seville will teach me to appreciate even more the marathons completed, to value the good health enjoyed on race days so far, and to realize how difficult is to achieve and beat a personal best time… something you do not conquer the day after you have been sick. Nevertheless, I love the distance, the race, the marathon, and I had to give it a try. I tried some thing epic but it could not be.

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(1) He had placed 2nd and 4th in previous editions of the race. You can check out his blog here. By the way, for Pablo it wasn’t also the best day: he quit in km 26 too, his first marathon not completed, too.


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First football match in Spain?

In the previous post I explained how I looked for some museum about the origin of football in Spain, which is regarded to have taken place in the province of Huelva, Spain.

The village of Rio Tinto claims such origin and it may well be so as it was there where the British colony working for Rio Tinto Company Limited established (at “Bella Vista” neighborhood).

The oldest football team in Spain is regarded to have been the Recreativo de Huelva (according to the Wikipedia originally known as Huelva Recreation Club), founded at the end of 1.889 by workers of the Rio Tinto mines and based in the city of Huelva, some 70 kilometres from Minas Rio Tinto.

I found some months ago, in the Spanish sports newspaper Marca, the following picture from an article of the The Dundee Courier” (Monday, March 17, 1.890) covering the “first football match in Spain”.

It was supposedly played in Seville, at the Tabladar (close to Airbus Military factory nowadays), between the above mentioned Huelva Recreation Club and “Club de Football de Sevilla” (not related to the current Sevilla F.C.).

The article is an interesting read for its historic touch.


  1. having been that Recreation Club from Huelva founded only in 1.889, by Rio Tinto workers,
  2. living many of the company workers at the village of Minas Rio Tinto, some 70 km from Huelva,
  3. having the workers other social clubs in Minas Rio Tinto (including Bella Vista) and
  4. being the company established in 1.873.

I’m afraid that probably the first match would have been played at Rio Tinto, not in Seville, and much earlier than in 1890.

At the mining museum of Minas de Rio Tinto, there is a small one-page text about the introduction of football by Rio Tinto Company Ltd. workers. In fact, in that text there is a mention of the celebration of a football match in 1.873 to celebrate the festivities of the local patron, San Roque.

But I am no historian, and thus would love to see some historian diving into that history and putting up the nice results in a museum in Rio Tinto :-).

Article of the “The Dundee Courier” (Monday, March 17, 1.890) covering the “first football match in Spain”.

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Derechos de TV: el Real Madrid subvenciona al Sevilla con 20 millones de euros

Ayer viendo por televisión, desde Francia, el partido de fútbol Valencia – Real Madrid recibí un mensaje de un amigo que me decía que él lo estaba viendo desde Costa Rica. Al rato otra amiga nos confirmaba que ellos lo estaban viendo desde Ecuador.

Esto viene a cuento de los muchos comentarios irónicos que he escrito en Twitter o Facebook al respecto de que Real Madrid y Barcelona reciban ingresos por derechos de televisión mayores que otros equipos, como por ejemplo el Sevilla. Y digo el Sevilla, por las declaraciones de su presidente Del Nido en varias ocasiones acerca de si el resto de equipos deberían percibir una mayor parte de la “tarta” y sus iniciativas al respecto.

A partir de datos publicados por El Mundo, he realizado la tabla de debajo con el reparto de derechos televisivos de la temporada 2010/2011:

Reparto de derechos de TV 2010-2011: elaboración propia, fuente El Mundo.

El hecho de que Real Madrid y Barcelona reciban 140M€, o un 23,3% del total cada uno, hace que varios equipos se alcen y digan que el reparto es injusto. Se citan ejemplos como el reparto en otras ligas donde las diferencias entre los que más cobran y los que menos son menores, como si ese reparto fuese más justo. El reparto se podría hacer de muchas maneras y ello no tiene porque ser más justo. Hay gente que defiende que los derechos se deberían repartir a partes iguales, cada equipo recibiría ~30M€.

Mi opinión: el hecho de que el Sevilla u otros equipos reciban 24M€ significa que el Real Madrid y el Barcelona subvencionan año tras año al Sevilla y a otros equipos con hasta 20 millones de euros.

Los datos de los “pinchazos” del pay per view, hasta el 90% de los mismos se debían a Madrid y Barcelona.

Mi experiencia actual: en el Canal + francés televisan todos los partidos de Barcelona y Real Madrid (como del Manchester, Chelsea, Liverpool, Inter de Milán, Milán, etc.). Por ejemplo, del Sevilla televisan 4 partidos seguros: sus cuatro enfrentamientos contra Real Madrid y Barcelona. Cuando ni en Inglaterra, ni Italia, ni Francia, ni Alemania televisan ningún partido de equipos con tirón, la televisión se desmarca televisando algún partido sin interés que puede ser de cualquiera de esas ligas (podría ser un Sevilla-Valencia). Es por ello que para los siguientes cálculos, asumiré que a algunos equipos españoles no les televisan solo 4 partidos sino 5 en Francia.

Parrilla de TV de + Sport, de Canal + France, sábado 19 noviembre 2011.

Si el reparto del dinero se hiciese por el número de partidos que se televisan (contando ya los derechos de TV que se venden internacionalmente), me sale el siguiente ejemplo de reparto, donde Madrid y Barcelona cobran un poco más y el resto algo menos o algo más. Yo entiendo que esto sería un poco más justo, palabra que tanto gusta a usar a los que defienden otros repartos.

Ejemplo de reparto: según el número de partidos televisados internacionalmente.

Sin embargo, es llamativo que del Sevilla prácticamente solo sus partidos contra Madrid y Barcelona despierten interés internacionalmente. Y por tanto, solo por esos partidos Canal + Francia esté dispuesta a pagar dinero (o Pekín TV por televisar un partido a las 12:00…). Eso me lleva a pensar que hay que introducir otro factor que valore que en un Barcelona-Sevilla, quien trae dinero a la tarta es el Barcelona y no el Sevilla, luego la forma de contar ese partido de cara al reparto debería tener en cuenta que lo que la gente quería ver es al Barcelona indistintamente de si jugase contra Sevilla, Almería, L’Hospitalet, Esperance de Túnez o Al Sadd de Qatar. La gente paga por ver al Barcelona.

¿Cómo se podría medir ese factor que tenga cuenta el interés? Viendo la proporción de partidos que se le televisa frente a los que juega de nuevo. Sí al Barcelona le televisan el 100% de sus partidos y al Sevilla el 13%, en un Barcelona – Sevilla el dinero de los derechos de TV debería corresponder en esa proporción, en torno al 90% para el Barcelona y 10% al Sevilla. Dado que para la televisión el Sevilla es como un sparring, da igual quien esté enfrente del Barcelona.

En boxeo la bolsa de dinero por un combate se negocia según el interés que despierta cada boxeador. Si mañana yo luchase contra Mike Tyson, y el combate generase 1 millón de euros (y combates de Tyson han generado más de 100m$ en pay per view), todos entenderíais que es absurdo que yo exigiese 500.000 euros por el mismo, cuando es Tyson quien consigue que alguien pague por ese evento. Si Tyson además de knockearme me diese 100.000€ yo me debería sentir agradecido.

Ejemplo de reparto: según el número de partidos televisados e interés respectivo de cada equipo.

Con esta nueva forma de reparto, como se ve en la tabla con el segundo ejemplo de reparto arriba, Real Madrid y Barcelona recibirían bastante más de lo que reciben hoy y el Sevilla unos 20M€ menos de lo que recibe ahora. Por eso, sostengo que Real Madrid y Barcelona subvencionan al Sevilla con 20 millones de euros y a otros tantos equipos con diversas cantidades.

Alguien dirá: “pues que se vayan a jugar con otros equipos y dejen la liga al resto”. Esto Florentino Pérez lo comenzó a investigar con la creación del G-14 y solo consiguió ganarse enemistades en la Federación Española de fútbol y en la UEFA.

De todos modos, si sucediese que Real Madrid y Barcelona dejasen de jugar la Liga para jugar una liga europea con grandes equipos, no es que el Sevilla fuese a quedarse con una parte mayor del pastel o que el fútbol español fuese a ganar en interés porque no sería cosa de dos. No. Lo que probablemente sucedería es que las televisiones de todo el mundo posiblemente no pagarían más de 66M€ (la suma del resultado para los 18 equipos en el segundo ejemplo de reparto) por los derechos de TV a la Liga frente a los 600M€ que se pagan ahora, y esos 66 millones son 5 veces menos de los 321M€ que reciben los otros 18 equipos de primera. Esa medida haría que la práctica totalidad de equipos, sin la subvención actual del Real Madrid y Barcelona, estuviesen arruinados y en bancarrota antes de la segunda temporada.


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I was disappointed with La Alhambra

I visited La Alhambra in the Easter of 2009 and I was disappointed with it. I have always heard wonderful stories, descriptions… one day it was Bill Clinton bringing Hillary there, other day it was about the sunset… the case is that I didn’t find anything there that I hadn’t seen in the Reales Alcazares in Seville (where I spent a year studying and working) and in a better state of conservation.

Whenever I say this to someone, their reply is “but it’s not only the buildings, it’s the atmosphere, the location, the view…”… mmm… yes, sure, but I came there expecting to see one of the Seven Wonders in the World… and frankly, I have seen other breathtaking places (Machu Picchu, Iguaçu falls…) where you don’t need someone reminding you that “it’s not only this, you need also to take into account that…”.


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