Two Aragonese athletes competed this weekend in the athletics World Cup beyond the limits of the marathon. It’s the 50-kilometer World Championship, an ultra-distance event that brings Alberto Puyuelo and Jesús Olmos to Hyderabad, India. There they have to compete against the best in the world, but also against the heat and pollution of the area. which will be the two great enemies of the Aragonese athletes.
The two have been there since Thursday trying to adapt to these conditions. It’s not easy, because even going out to train there is difficult: “We can’t do much because you don’t get out much. It is chaos, there are no sidewalks, people drive too much, there is a lot of pollution…” said Jesús Olmos, known as ‘fruit runner’ for his profession, who has a fruit shop in Las Fuentes.
The athlete warned that contamination “could be a big problem.” Hyderabad is a city with more than 9 million inhabitants that experiences pollution problems, like many cities in this country. Olmos believes the problem is bigger than the heat and humidity expected on Sunday, the day of the test. “The conditions will be very difficult for a test of this distance”, added the other Aragonese of the expedition, Alberto Puyuelo. The race starts at 7:00 a.m. local time (2:00 in Spain) and it is expected to be 20 degrees, rising to 30 by the time of arrival. This, along with humidity and pollution, promises to present very difficult conditions for athletes.
Nevertheless, the Aragonese are very eager to do well and be among the first. Puyuelo arrives with European runner-up status, following his second-place finish at the European Championship hosted by Avila. “My feelings are better than what I had before, but the level will be different,” warned Puyuelo, who considers “South Africa, the United States, England, Japan and India” as the main rivals of the Spaniards. During his preparation, the athlete from Jaca won the bronze medal in the Spanish Marathon Championships held in Zaragoza. He was finally able to travel to India on paid leave from his job as a teacher, after having to ‘fight’ over a loophole in Aragonese regulations.
Jesús Olmos, for his part, arrived with 14 weeks of preparation and three extraordinary events in his legs: the Joya de Mallén, the San Sebastián half marathon, and the Zaragoza Firefighters 10k. “I’ve done up to 200 kilometers per week, but now I’m going downhill to get to the good World Cup”he pointed out.
Toni Abadía helped him in his preparation, as well as his coach, Pepe Mareca. “And my wife, who has been with me since day one and came with us on the Sunday bike ‘tiradas'”, Add. Olmos traveled to Hyderabad with the dream of “winning the World Cup”, although knowing that it was something “almost impossible”. “To be one of the top 15 is a dream,” he pointed out as a more realistic goal.