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Back to running in Chile, wearing the DRR T-shirt - Joaquín Corvalán

I left Dundee (and Scotland) on March 19, 2024, but continued to represent DRR in Chile in the Viña del Mar Half Marathon on April 7, 2024, and in the Santiago Marathon on April 28, 2024. I will tell you a little about my experiences in the two races, and about my process of reflection and experiences related to not training anymore in the DRR club, and to return to live (and run) in my country, Chile.

Viña del Mar Half Marathon (April 7, 2024)

I considered this half marathon as part of my training for the Santiago Marathon. I started training on April 1st with a new Club, called Team Mora, with excellent coaches (Raul and Sofi) and teammates. I told my coach Raul that I wanted to run this half marathon and the marathon of Santiago wearing the shirt of DRR, to close in a good way a cycle, for me it was very important. He, kindly, did not put problems and understood. The idea of this race was not to demand much, to run at the marathon pace I was preparing, which was to run at a pace of 4:30 per kilometer (7:15 per mile in old money), at the suggestion of Raul, my coach.

I ran this race 100% alone. I saw it as a preparation for the marathon, and I went without friends or anyone from the club, I just considered it as a good long Sunday run. I ran the first kilometer at marathon pace, but my legs felt very light, and I got motivated, I started from kilometer 2 to run with sensations, without killing myself. The scenery and weather were very nice. Near the sea, with sun, many good feelings, memories, etc. Finally, I finished the race very well, even better than Alloa HM who had done a very good race 3 weeks ago.

I did my best Half Marathon time (1:25:23, at an average pace of 4:03 per kilometer, or 6:31 per mile), and I was very motivated and psyched to run the Santiago Marathon, in 3 more weeks. I loved the race, the people were very nice, and I also ran in the city where I was born and raised, so it had a special meaning. I am sharing with you a picture with Mom and Dad, after the race.

Santiago Marathon (April 28, 2024)

First time I came to a full marathon following a training plan. Previously I had run two full marathons (Edinburgh in 2022 and Dundee in 2023), but with less kilometers in my body, and without all the learning that involves training with a club, since September last year in DRR and now with Team Mora.

I was lucky to have the guidance of Raul Mora, from my new Team, and to train the last weeks with two new teammates, Andrés and Seba. Almost all the series work we did together, supervised and well planned.

The day of the marathon arrived, woke up at 4:15 in the morning, breakfast and take the subway to go to downtown Santiago. The weather conditions were perfect, and there were about 35,000 people who would run 10k, 21k and 42k.

The race started at 7:30 on time. One of the keys of this marathon was to run the first half (up to about km 24) accompanied by teammates. We were 5 teammates running together (Seba, Andres, Tito, Javier, and me), taking care to keep the planned pace, not to hurry, because we knew that from kilometer 20 to 32 was uphill.

The first two hours of the marathon were very fast, and I felt very good, controlled pace. At kilometer 24, uphill, I still felt very good, and I decided not to control the pace and run by feeling. It was an excellent race, I felt very good and made a negative split. My sister was at km 29 with water, giving me encouragement, and I was very happy to see her. Then, from kilometer 32 to 42 I did them fast (for my standards): the last 10 kilometers of the marathon I could do them at a good pace, 4:10 per kilometer (6:43 per mile), and with good sensations. I think it's the first time I finished a long race with such a good feeling. I finished my marathon race in 3:09:10, improving my marathon time by more than 15 minutes. Very pleased and happy. I shared with the people of the club, wearing my DRR t-shirt.

Final Reflections

It was strange to come back to run in Chile. At the beginning I was feeling very warm, and I got tired very fast. Now I am better.

Most of the miles I have in my body were done in Scotland (Dundee, Broughty Ferry, Newport, Tay Port, Perth, etc.). Much of the learning, effort, reflection on running, friendships made, habits developed, training, has been in Scotland. What I am sure of is that training in a club is very important, at least for me, because it helps to humanize a sport that can sometimes become very lonely. The human component is important, and I think that, in addition, from a technical point of view it improves a lot, because there are people who know a lot, and because it helps you to be more disciplined and constant. Now I'm training with Team Mora, and I'm very happy, with excellent coaches and teammates.

The second semester I will do shorter distances. My next races are 10k in Viña del Mar on May 26 and 5k on June 23 in Santiago (I will do the two races with my little brother).

The challenge is to be able to reconcile the different spheres or aspects of life with running. It is not always easy, but I am motivated to achieve it, because it does me a lot of good, and makes me lead a happier and healthier life.

I am glad because I have been able to continue running in Chile. I take with me forever the learnings and friendships made at the DRR Club in Dundee. As Alison McNeilly said a few days ago, once a DRR, always a DRR. Many thanks to DRR coaches Ged, Morat, Loraine, Jackie, and Harry. And to all my friends in the DRR club, I will treasure the good times together forever.

I miss my DRR friends and send them a big hug.

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