Wednesday, February 8

The athletes of kilometer 18 in today’s average in Mérida

It all starts with Marcelino Moreno. The president of Popular Athletes of Mérida. He was interested in how they work in Full Inclusion to promote sports and the possibilities of including them in the half marathon. He suggested to the monitors that they take charge of the last provisioning and then make the medals and trophies in his pottery workshop.

They have been opening bottles for three years at kilometer 18. Right at the Velada roundabout with the supermarket. When the runners arrive in a hurry to go up Lusitania Avenue and after resuscitating at Gol Pizza.

“For us, this activity is very important, they feel that they are helping others and it is not they who need help.” Alejandro Gil is responsible for sports at the association in Mérida.

He speaks of the first contact with the media as a crush. They got excited with the leading pack. They were impressed by how fast they were going. They didn’t even come for a bottle. Then the popular battalion arrived and they all got one. “None of them escaped.” And with the final trickle of corpses, with those who suffer to finish, they overturned. They saw his agony and broke into cheers of encouragement. They even wanted to accompany them to the finish line so they wouldn’t give up. They could keep up with him. And then the question popped up. “Why don’t we run with them to the end?”

And they proposed it to Popular Athletes for the following year.

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They looked capable of going from the Velada to the finish line with the tail squad. They dared and complied.

The monitor tells that in those three kilometers that they have run twice, stories of overcoming have come out that are worth knowing. Two brothers who had never run together arrived at the same time. One left from the beginning and the other joined in the eighteenth. Alejandro is moved when he remembers the effort of his runner to show his brother that he could go to the end. There are also those who pick it up and find their motivation to continue in the public. Or who believes that he is not going to achieve it when he starts and when crossing the finish line he hugs the first one he sees. “They feel full athletes in those three kilometers and that is what moves us to prepare them.”

They usually do it with a ratio of one to one so that each volunteer goes at their own pace and always has someone from Full Inclusion nearby.

Alejandro appreciates the involvement of his colleagues in joining a sports activity on a weekend day.

For this afternoon’s race they have prepared nine athletes and will bring seven monitors.

Full Inclusion Mérida has already participated in several tests in the city. In Decabike, for example, they went with a small group in the pack of cyclists.

The same in the Don Bosco fund. They ran as one more race group. «We take the step to this type of event because it seems to us the most inclusive, you are at the same level as anyone. Go behind or go ahead, you participate with the rest. Alejandro is in charge of training with them and preparing them. From his experience in events like the Jedes, he knows that motivation does not come from the result, but from competing.

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Competition has a very different role in functional diversity. Many have asked him in recent years about the film Champions. “Without so much confetti and without so much paraphernalia, but it does show reality because they are happy to come out, for having shown their ability and they don’t give so much importance to being first or second.” And that is one of the reasons why today they start in the last three kilometers of the average. We are, explains the monitor, a group of runners who come to outdo themselves, like the almost two thousand popular athletes who take to the streets of Mérida today.

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