For the elderly who return to their village on the Castilian heath after a long absence, the fog that covers them at Christmas, and we cannot even see them, is an excuse to feel like children lost in the middle of the mountains and of their frozen ears, and to Mario García Romo, who is not old at all (he turned 24 in June) and went down to Villar de Gallimazo (in the Moraña of Salamanca) a few days ago since his sports base of Boulder (Colorado), is that, the feeling of being at home, and also a companion who surrounds him wet and icy during his races through the countryside, more than romantic and hurtful. “Yes, yes, this fog gives back the feeling of being in the city, but it’s been three days without going below zero, and that’s it, you already miss the sun”, says the athlete, holder of the Spanish record for mile (3 min 47.69 sec). “On Christmas Eve I did a 15 mile session (about 25 kilometers) and five miles and gym on Christmas and the 26th. There is no day off.”
García Romo returned to Spain for Christmas to see his family and continue running, his profession, and this Sunday, New Year’s Eve, the last of the year, he will lead the New Year’s Eve of Vallecas, the most important of the world. The Salamanca, fourth in the 1,500m at the Oregon 2022 World Cup and sixth at the Budapest World Cup last summer, will be one of the Spanish figures alongside Mula Mo Katir, from Murcia, silver medalist in the 5,000 m in Budapest, and the Galician marathon runner from Ames Tariku Novales, who, by beating the national record (2h 5m 48s) in Valencia a month ago (2h 5m), became the first Spaniard to pass under the 2h 6m over the distance of 42.195 kilometers. the favorite, the Ethiopian athlete Berihu Aregawi, Katir’s usual rival on the stadium tracks, who, at the Cursa dels Nassos (Barcelona’s San Silvestre), broke the 5 km world record two years ago, five kilometers on asphalt (12 min 49 s).
The Paris 2024 objective
When García Romo (and everyone else, the happy public does not distinguish him) bathes in shaving foam at the Rayo stadium, there will be 215 days left before, on August 2, 2024, it is played at the Stade de France, already then Olympic Stadium, first series of the 1,500m of the Paris Games. D-day, H-hour. “But not the only decisive date,” the professional athlete from the OAC (On Athletic Club) specifies on the telephone. “No no. There is more than one goal, yes. The Games are the most important thing, logically. After all, they come every four years, don’t they? And it’s the biggest sporting event in the world. But there is also a European Free Track Championship, in June, and a World Indoor Championship, in March. These two championships will therefore also be essential. And I think that these are also objectives very important to me this year, so I’m going to try to get all three.
Training, whether in the fog of the Castilian countryside and the oak groves, whether under the deceptive and icy sun of Colorado, on the ski slopes of the millionaires of the Rockies, makes athletes happy, the endorphins speak to their ears, tell them that they are superb, this makes them happy, and if the training is good, it also generates unstoppable optimism, at least to the extent of their ambition. “And it’s going really well for me so far. This has been the busiest fall I’ve ever had. Never. Additionally, I think training in the summer with a higher volume also helps a lot this fall. Especially to be able to handle longer distances and slightly stronger workouts. And the truth is that I think that compared to last year I have taken a pretty big step in this regard”, says García Romo, who will make his debut (if classified via minimum or ranking) at the Games Olympics, to which he will arrive after almost medals at two World Championships and a bronze medal at the last European Championships in Munich 2022. Still ahead, the almost untouchable Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Katir.. “What sets me apart a little from other 1500m athletes like Katir or Jakob, it’s endurance.. They are also very good runners in 5000 and, like it or not, I couldn’t reflect in the 5000 the level I have in the 1000. This year, I hope so. And I will also try to improve even in the 800. That’s another goal.
Like Pep Guardiola with his Manchester City fighters, García Romo was motivated and sensitized before the competitions with the music and action of Gladiator, but not so much anymore. “I think everyone already knows Gladiator, because it’s one of my favorite films. Yes, I always watch Gladiator, but I don’t watch it before all the competitions, but it’s a film that I really like,” he says. “But above all I try to read, I try to read people who inspire me a lot and in whom I find motivation. But I think you also have to find a little motivation within yourself. And I’m focusing on that as well, on finding my reason to run and my reason to continue to improve.
More than a man of cinema or networks, García Romo is a man of books, a reader who seeks answers to life in what he reads, and even if, now that the Colorado group led by Dathan Ritzenhein has a trainer, Kelsey Quinn, with a more scientific outlook and a needle to control training by millimoles of lactates on the treadmill, maybe these days you’ll find more reasons to be an athlete as you delve at the end of your shopping in reading the Loneliness of the long-distance runnerhe cross country as class struggle and act of affirmation of rebellion before the world.
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