"How can we have a champion without nationality?"
Among the best Spanish brands we saw in the Valencia Marathon was that of a debutant. An athlete of just 26 years who it was released in the 42 kilometers and 195 meters with 2:10:45. A marcon that also represented the Olympic minimum. Houssame Benabbou landed with just seven years in a town in Extremadura and it took more than 15 to obtain nationality. His story, his ambitions and much more tells us on the Radio del Corredor.
Tell us your story, Houssame
“I came to Spain with only seven years, I've been almost 20 years now and yes, we came to a town called Talayuela, which is where I grew up and that is where I started to make my first strides. Now I live in Cáceres capital, which is where I work and where I have the necessary facilities to carry out my training. My parents left Morocco like any family in search of opportunities. We have grown here, I feel extremeño and in all this time I have returned to Morocco three times, so I know Spain much better than my country of origin. We are three brothers. The one who is more professional in athletics is me. I have a brother of one year less than he also does his kilometers, but he has his job. The youngest, 19, is with his studies, but he also runs and helps me sometimes with training. ”
15 years to obtain nationality ... It should not have been easy for you to win tests and not be able to get on the podium or collect trophies.
“As you say, it has been all bureaucracy. I've been in Spain for almost 20 years; The first requirement to obtain nationality in Spain is to take 10 years in the country. I had applied for nationality, but I was almost four years in paperwork. In the wake of winning the Spanish Championship of Cros in Merida in the sub’23 category, politicians said: "How is it possible that here we have a champion who does not have the nationality?". From that moment on, the roles moved fairly quickly and in just two months I achieved nationality. It is true that I had a bad time; I was 20 years old and I was very excited to represent Spain; It was minimal and I did not qualify, I did not climb podiums, it was hard. But as I liked to run that didn't stop me. More than anything, he lost the illusion in days, but he recovered it. Thank God we got it. ”
It sounds strange that with 26 years you already make the jump to the marathon ...
“People who are not on my team are surprised that they debuted so young in a marathon. My coach is the one who plans me, who knows my evolution and what I am worth. 3 years ago we debuted in Valencia in a half marathon without specific preparation and it went quite well. I proclaimed myself champion of Spain twice and now With 26 years we have debuted not because of the coincidence with the Olympic Games, but because it was our turn, we have exceeded expectations, my coach thought I had more. Yes I am young, but I like long distance, I adapt quite well; the marathon has not cost me much, it was rather psychological, but then when I reached the finish line I realized that my terrain is the route and that my goal in the end is going to be the marathon ”.
How was the decision and preparation for the 42km?
“Basically I prepared only the marathon. I always go out alone, I like to train alone, the people who follow me on social networks already know. It is a personal virtue of mine that I get along quite well, I don't depend on a group, when I need it I will look for it; we have prepared it thoroughly, we have made a good rehabilitation at a distance, five months quite impeccable. On the day of the race, 2 hours 10 I will have suffered 17-20 minutes for the desire to reach the goal. We were the group of Spaniards with Chiki, with Camilo, who had their own hare. We knew we were going to do that time. I went with them, to my ball, at my pace, controlling with my GPS as usual. I reached quite a goal and I really liked the experience for being the first ”.
How is your situation now after Valencia to be in the Games?
“My situation is quite complicated. Mine, that of Lamdassem. Camilo has a better brand than us, but I'm not going to leave my life with 26 years to get to be in the Games. There is something called projection, stages. I'm in no hurry, there will be more opportunities. But I'm going to fight until the end. Let the best go, in this case there is Dani Mateo, who takes a place in the Spanish Championship in Seville and then for the best brand. I will not go to Seville because it would be quite risky and we can get injured; The marathon leaves sequels. We will try to improve our brand and then there the coach will decide who deserves to be. ”
Valencia is special for you ...
“In Valencia I debuted in a half marathon three years ago. I have already done five half marathons, including the world cup. Valencia will give me many joys And it will always be special. My marathon debut will be there too and I'm very fond of him. ”
You ran several socks before the marathon. Recommendable?
“Even before that average in Valencia I did the one in Glasgow, with a personal brand, and then after Valencia I ran the one in Badajoz, which I took as a training even though I ended up winning it. It suited me quite well in a week of quite a load. I ran it alone, raining and at 1:03 that is pretty good. I do not want people to think that I am left over; a person who has 1: 01-02 running at 1:03 on his legs is not much harm to me personally; I have to move my legs because I was fast, but it worked out pretty well. ”
Where is your roof right now? What do you have in mind?
“Right now I have no roof, I can't limit myself with 26 years. Moreover, I have a thorn to make a good chrono in a 10k en route. I know that the route will give me many joys and the marathon many more. ”
In March comes the World Half Marathon in Poland. An important date for you, right?
“The World Cup is in our head and we are going to prepare it conscientiously because I liked the Valencia World Cup last year. Of course also the Europeans of 2020. There is the first half marathon Spanish Championship, then the World Cup and then we'll see if we do another marathon looking for that best brand to be in the Tokyo Games. Following that, depending on the classification of the Games, we will prepare Paris in one way or another. ”
How is it for a two-time champion of Spain like you to live on athletics?
“Right now I live well; good, I survive well. We have our cache, but we must continue to work much more to ensure that well-being. Living in this sport is very complicated, but surviving can be survived by working very well and very hard. Athletics in Spain is quite ‘expensive’; Look, there are seven minimums for the Games marathon. You have to do many very good things to differentiate yourself from others. ”
What is Houssame Benabbou like every day?
“I wake up in the morning, breakfast, I do my studies online (professional training), I go out to train the first session about 10-.10: 30, like, rest, I do the second session (especially during the preparation for the marathon that you have to accumulate kilometers) and at night I watch TV, I read, I entertain myself a little and on the envelope. I'm not a boy of whims, with almost two days I can disconnect, I have enough and I get along. I like my routine. Right now I have lowered the load a lot, because I am focused on the cros and the half marathon. They spend about seven hours between one session and another to have a good rest. The first session is the fattest and the afternoon session to accumulate training and work. ”
"I like to train alone and I don't find it complicated. Many do find it, especially long runs at lower rates. Until today I have not needed it, my brothers do help me in some shooting, but it represents 15% of the time. I am not so methodical, but I am quite disciplined and I like what I do. ”
Where can we see you soon?
“This year I will finally run the San Silvestre Vallecana, I already have a category to debut popr fin and it makes me excited ”.
Listen to the interview from minute 27:30:https://www.sport.es/labolsadelcorredor/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/T02-E25.mp3