What brand do you need to live from the marathon in Spain?
At 31 years old, Iván Fernández Anaya did this February the marathon of his life in Seville where, at last, he went down from 2 hours 10 minutes: 2:09:55. Today, however, he is a man with barely any income who comes up very fair to pay the self-employed fee.
No one expected him. In this year's Seville marathon everyone was talked about except him: Iván Fernández Anaya (Vitoria, 1988), who already seemed like a lost cause for distance. But then the best of him appeared which meant a brilliant it marks below 2 hours and 10 minutes: 2:09:55. A silent triumph, the son of patience that in his case lasted five years and that reminds us that there is no harm that 100 years lasts. Today, in the coldness of memory, Iván explains what has allowed him to get here. Then he talks about his father, a carpenter who came to Vitoria from a town in Santander to earn a living. The price was the sacrifice: all those days when the man got up at six in the morning and did not return home until so many. Somehow marathoner Iván Fernández pays tribute to that memory in which his coach also appears: Santi Pérez. A plumber hardened in a thousand battles who always says to him: “Try it, Iván. In the end, it is all about putting on ”.
Question. Can you live on the marathon?
Answer. I do not see this answer clearly. I do not see it clearly. Not until now. I could not dedicate exclusively three or four months to the marathon and forget to participate in races because then it did not reach me. And now, that I have done 2:09 and that in theory was going to improve for me, the COVID-19 thing came and I don't know what to say anymore… I'm still wondering. I will have to wait, but I am not clear either.
It was a shame
If you look at it sporty, yes. But I am lucky. I have not lost any of mine and I know that it was very hard because I saw my wife, who is a nurse and who is finishing medicine, arrive every day from working in the hospital.
What did I tell him?
He hardly needed to tell me. As soon as she got home, she went to her room, took off her clothes, put them in the washing machine and went straight to the shower to avoid getting infected. So one day after another and, as you are not used to it, it marks you.
What other security measures were you taking at home?
None more than that. In the end, as she told me, there is no one invulnerable to the virus. That is why I value so much that nothing has happened to my parents who are already 64 and 62 years old and who deserve so much to take advantage of life now. My father, after working as a carpenter all his life, has just retired. He has struggled a lot to help the family, my sister and me, since he came to Vitoria and we settled on the outskirts at a time when the outskirts seemed to be so far from everything.
Did that make you an athlete?
No, it was the mountain. It was on Sundays when the four of us went to the mountains and I took the opportunity to run and discovered that this was my great passion. My first console, a Nintendo, didn't come until I made my first communion.
Today, he is an elite marathoner.
Well, elite in quotes. Despite having done 2:09, if it wasn't for my sponsors, I couldn't tell him that "I, Iván Fernández, live off the marathon."
Are you an athletics worker?
Yes now. Maybe on the track, where I got to make 7’49 ”in 3,000 not so much because you could once live on talent. But in the marathon, if you don't get 100% involved, there is no way, and even then training doesn't guarantee you anything. It is hard to say and feel it. But I, who have spent five years to lose 2 hours and 10 minutes, I can tell you. In fact, in 2018 I was about to quit athletics.
There are times when it costs so much.
I had to go to the psychologist.
I had sent a message to my training team saying, ‘I leave athletics indefinitely’, because I was tired of things not going away.
What would you have been doing then?
I am not afraid of the future. I have done two higher grades of Education because I really like children. But it is that if I have to work as a clerk in Decathlon or as a stocker in a supermarket, nothing happens either: no problem, all the jobs are worthy. Making a living has a lot of value. I don't believe in class struggle. For me we are all the same as this pandemic has shown us.
Has COVID-19 made you a better person?
I could say yes, but what is it about making yourself a better person: saying it now and then in two months that you forget?
I believe in what you are. Not in those slogans that say things like that we are going to come out stronger, because, for me, the important thing is not to say it but to demonstrate it when everything has happened.
Can you make a guy who lives 24 hours a day for the marathon stronger?
I do not know. I think it's all in the head. I always give an example those Sundays in which I have 34 or 36 km and I tell Santi Pérez, my coach, that I will not be able to, that I am very tired, because on Friday, which is his series day, I have been able to do 3 × 5,000. And it is true that 48 hours is when you are most tired. But he always answers me, "Try it, it's all about getting".
And he is right.
I also put myself in the shoes of my father who was for a multitude of years getting up at six in the morning to go put doors, baseboards ... what do I know, and I never heard him complain. If he didn't complain, why should I complain? It's not fair.
Complaining is not profitable.
Not for me, of course. Complaining could complain about the generation of my parents who spent all day working. But I cannot complain. That's why I like to listen to older people so much because it helps me put my feet on the ground. I like to be told about their battles because they make me understand that, despite the difficulties of athletics, I am privileged and that forgetting it would be a mistake.
The marathon does not allow mistakes.
No, no, I think so. The marathon teaches you because it demands so much from you… I went from doing 100 km a week on average to 160 or 170. I realized that the kilometers leave me without strength. They filed my muscle, especially in the quadriceps area. Since then, I have been doing strength with the montain bike on circuits with roads and trails. In fact, two weeks before the Seville marathon, I did one of 52 kilometers. People are surprised but my body is doing well.
Everyone must know how to do their job.
So is. Look, in this confinement I had the treadmill on the terrace, on a twelve-meter terrace that we have at home. When people looked out on the balconies and watched me train, they had to think, 'This guy has to be crazy.' But that is my job.
How is your income?
It is a good question because they are complicated, very complicated. If it were not for the two sponsors I have (BTI of doctors Eduardo Anutia and Mikel Sánchez and Electro Alavesa), who have even endured the two years I was unemployed, I would not even know how to answer that question. I would hardly get even to pay the freelance fee. But you have to be positive. You have to think that we are going to get out of this and that the good days will come back.
Will it go back down from 2 hours 10 minutes in marathon?
Those are the days that are so worth fighting for. I will never forget at the finish line when we had already passed all the advertising and my wife told me 'look, look behind the fence' and there were my family and friends jumping with joy because of the brand I had made. I got a little closer and saw that they were crying with happiness, with tears in their eyes and screaming 'you did it, you did it.' It was very emotional.
There are things that are never forgotten.
No one counted on me. It did not appear in any bet in the previous one: I came from four withdrawals in my last marathons. But I remember that on December 1, the Sunday in which those marks came out in the Valencia marathon, I was in Durango doing the athletics monitor course while we watched the Valencia marathon online. Seeing the marks of the Spanish athletes, there were those who said, ‘they have made it difficult for you in Seville,’ and I answered ‘calm down, there are possibilities.’ In fact, I wrote in the notebook the notes that I was going to make: 2h09: 57. I was wrong only in 2 seconds.
What an anecdote.
Well, that's how it was. But it is the most important thing I have learned from the marathon, to believe in myself and to understand that much of what can happen is in your head.