News : Neither from Ingebrigtsen, nor from Cheptegei, I’m from Pepín Rioseco

News : Neither from Ingebrigtsen, nor from Cheptegei, I’m from Pepín Rioseco

Photo Nacho Rego (Instagram @nachorego)

I am imagining it, most of you will be wondering who is this Pepín Rioseco who appears in the headline. Well, Pepín, “which is what my mother called me, how those who love me call me and in the end how everyone knows me”, although his name is José Vicente, he is a veteran athlete of reference in Spain and a world star in the scope of the now called master athletics, in his case since he is more than 70 years old. In this 2021, specifically in April, turned 80 and since then I have begun to devour world records of his age category in 800 meters, 1,500 meters and the mile, but it is not only that he has surpassed them, but that he is doing it with abysmal chronometric differences.

Devouring records

On his birthday, April 30, he competed in La Coruña in a control of the Galician federation. And there, along with kids who could be his grandchildren, he marked 2: 41.59 in the 800 meters, at 1.20.5 every 400, or a rate of 3:21 per 1,000, which I recommend that any of you try to do it, of those who go running regularly … and then you will realize the enormous value of Rioseco’s record, which was new universal record.

Later, on June 19, and during the dispute of the Spanish Master’s Championship in Malaga, he did the same with the 1,500 meters, stopping the clock at 5: 30.89, which means going to 3:40 a kilometer … and later, on July 18, in the Absolute Galicia Championship, Mr. Pepín Rioseco ran the distance of the Mile (1,609 meters) in 5: 56.93 (at 3:41 the km).

In the previous category, that is, the one reserved for those who have 75 years old, Rioseco already He had broken the world limits of 800 meters (2: 30.59, in 2016), 1,500 (5: 11.27, in 2018) and 2,000 obstacles (8: 29.26, in 2019).

Our man is a Galician gentleman, and I say that of gentleman in the broadest sense of the term, and especially the one that says “respectable person and of a certain social category” and “person who shows dignity in their behavior or appearance”… because of “person of a certain age”, with 80 tacos completed, is irrefutable. Galician born and resident in Ferrol, he has been a military doctor by profession, from very young until his retirement.

We are talking about a Lieutenant Colonel whose medical specialization has been internal medicine and geriatrics. Because of the rank, in his professional work “they called me a doctor or Lieutenant Colonel and not Pepín of course”, this nice and highly cultivated man tells us thanks to the fact that he is a compulsive reader, his other great hobby and occupation outside of sports.

Without a bright sporting past

Rioseco was not a posh athlete in his early years as far as competition is concerned, but he did show that there was good quality raw material: “I was always an athlete. I liked swimming a lot, because I live 150 meters from the estuary and there the kids used to jump off and play that way. There is a swimming crossing that was already done when I was little, which is from Ferrol to Mugardos (approximately a mile away) and I wanted to participate in it, but since I was very young my mother hid my swimsuit from me so that I would not do it . An uncle of mine left me another swimsuit and there I jumped into the water with the older ones … and I won. Then later on I won many tests of this type in the area where I live ”.

“When I entered college, to get some money, and since I had experience, I started being a swimming coach and that kept me hooked on the sport. I also liked to play tennis since I was thirty-something years old and I played once a week and signed up for some social trophies, I ran from time to time, almost always on weekends and even without specific training I did a Madrid marathon and some other race, but mostly what I did the most was swimming “

Pepín is a man with an imposing plant as a long distance runner, and I would have liked to see this guy in his younger years, well trained and competing on the ash tracks of that time. Tells me that he measures 1.73 and weighs 62 kg when he is thin (which is almost always), but he gives me the impression that he is taller, and perhaps and only perhaps, it is because people his age find it difficult to see them upright, with an elegant stride, as if they were African runners, thin and elegant. But Pepín does have that stamp running and training, you just have to look on social networks for the last of his videos entering the finish line when he broke the world record of 800 meters.

Athletics on a daily basis after retirement

Rioseco started running for real and continuously “shortly after I retired. The first two years I dedicated myself to taking care of my mother, who needed me and when she passed away I looked for how to fill my free time. Since then I train in the mornings, I dedicate myself all morning to doing sports, then I eat, I take a nap, which is something that I never forgive myself and I dedicate the afternoons to rest and read at home … I am a great reader ” , and in this sense we ask you to recommend something to us. “Now I am reading, rather, rereading, Dominic Lapierre’s ‘Tonight, Freedom’ which deals with when there was the secession between India and Pakistan. And I am going to recommend you two very good recent books for me ‘La hare de la Patagonia’, by Claude Lanzmann and another by a woman from Zaragoza, Irene Vallejo, ‘El infinito en un reed’. About athletics I try to read little, really. I read at the time, when I dedicated myself to training in swimming, things in physiology and so on … but I do recommend the book by Raquel Landín, who is Galician and daughter of the prestigious coach Carlos Landín, who in her day and with great success directed the three De la Torre brothers. Raquel was living and training in Kenya and her book is titled ‘The Secret is that you believe there is a secret’, which talks about the way African athletes train. In this sense I have it clear, an athlete who wants to reach the top has to train a lot, take care of himself and above all be very constant ”.

With his son Esteban (3:40 in 1,500 years ago) and one of his granddaughters | Photo: Nacho Rego

A very particular methodology and a lot of fun

And we are going to see if we find the key to the secret of Pepín Rioseco’s great state of form, who repeats to us over and over again that he does athletics every day because it amuses him and that he is going to compete for the same reason “and not by records or brands. Man, I began to propose to try this or that brand because I saw the record tables, and according to what I was training, it seemed to me that they were within my reach, without further ado ”. And, in fact, unlike other great record holders and master champions, Pepín is not easy to see in international competitions “unless they are in Spain or somewhere nearby, I don’t feel like taking long trips to get medals.”

In his day-to-day life, the Ferrol athlete trains himself, based on his knowledge of physiology and his experience as a swimming coach and as an athlete. “I train all morning, after breakfast I go to the Country Club”, a select sports club 200 meters from his house of which Rioseco is a founding member. There I do my filming, which is usually about 12 km during the year and now to run the 5,000 I have climbed to 16 km, but be careful, I do not do those distances in a row, I run 20 minutes maximum in a row and stop, when I do half distance, less time often, of course, and then I do my tables of running technique, abdominals, strength exercises, gym … I combine it, generally low weight and many repetitions. And so on until completing the kilometers that you are going to do. And in the rhythms that I carry during the race, I vary the intensity some days or the same day I start at a pace and then increase it in other blocks or loosen. I also combine elliptical and spinning in many sessions and I also usually swim every day for about 20 minutes (10 with styles and 10 with fins, sometimes). The important thing for me is to do all this every morning having fun, and I chat with a friend, with another. Then I recover at the spa and do the stretches there, but I never force myself on them. And I never give myself massages, it seems to me that this is a trauma and I still do not know what they are for, I believe in a maxim of medicine and that is that rest and rest is the best recovery ”.

Good food, the 5,000 spike and new shoes

As a good doctor, he takes care of his diet: “As without salt, I drink water at the end of the training, but never during it, and the water I drink is from the tap, never natural water, I do not drink any soft drinks or any stimulant such as coffee or tea. I drink only water and beer 0.0. And when I am not taking care of myself as much as these days, I do have wine and normal beer, but when I want to tune more, I leave it. I also eat a lot of fruit every day, a good dose of vitamin C and always whole fruit, not juices. The only meat I like is pork, and I eat fish, vegetables and legumes more frequently. From time to time I have rice and pasta, but especially the day before a competition I force myself to have rice or pasta at night. In short, I eat quite varied and I do have the habit when I compete, during the warm-up, to have a little honey, a great source of natural hydrates ”.

And finally we ask him to tell us why he has gotten into the adventure of running a 5,000 being a man from the middle distance. “Well, very simple, because in the group that we have of friendly and training athletes, they just talk about the successes of the long distance runners, 5,000, 10,000 and it seems that those of shorter distances are worth nothing, (laughs) and that is why I decided to try to show that I can run those distances well, even if I haven’t practiced it for a long time ”. The record that Pepín pursues in Pontevedra in the 12 and a half laps on the track is held by one of the legends of veteran athletics of all time, Canadian Ed Whitlock, with 20: 58.12, from 2011.

As an anecdote to close, José Vicente Rioseco is such a unique guy that he competes on the track with some very normal spike shoes, one of the cheapest on the market, without flaunting the new technologies that are so fashionable. During several days of conversations for this report, I suggest you not put nails to do the 5,000 because, in my opinion, it will go better with fast asphalt shoes. And here you have old sneakers as the only option, I suggest buying new ones for the attempt and after several days of waiting due to problems in the distribution, Pepín Rioseco will attack the record with his new model of flying shoes, so If things go well, he knows that he owes us at least one beer. Cheers friend Pepín!

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