Avapace Run: the Visibility Marathon

Valencia is ready to host this Sunday the 42nd edition of the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon. It will intersperse the professional and personal challenges of its 30,000 participants. Each one with their dreams and reasons, like the one that the 30 athletes from the Avapace Corre Athletics Club will take five people with cerebral palsy to the finish line in their running chair. All of them run and participate to promote the effective inclusion in society through sport of people who suffer from this disease.

Avapace Corre athletes accumulate hundreds of kilometers on their legs for this social purpose. The team has participated in races of different distances and disciplines since 2013, when a group of parents with children with cerebral palsy found in sport a space to give visibility and raise funds for associations such as Avapace, which with the 2012 crisis saw their public and private aid to improve the living conditions of patients and their families. Thus, the circuit of the Popular Races of the Valencia City Council were the first tests in which they participated and they soon made the leap to the Valencia and Castellón Half and Marathon.

Avapace Corre is made up of 170 members and they have a list of regular runners of about 40. The number of people with cerebral palsy participating in the different races ranges from five to ten. There are races, “less and less”, in which they encounter bureaucratic obstacles, which do not allow the participation of vehicles outside the organization, an erroneous and distorted argument, because as Velasco emphasizes: “Ours are not vehicles, they are people.”

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Avapace Corre was a pioneer and other teams have followed in his footsteps such as ‘Fire cars‘ of Seville or associations of Barcelona and San Sebastián. “Our social work is important because of the visibility it achieves and because we help make society more inclusive,” says Benito Velasco, president of the Club, who explains the physical effort and at the same time the satisfaction involved in running 42,195 meters pushing a chair of running.

“It modifies the way you run, because you don’t move your arms or at most only one,” says Velasco, “so you basically run with your hips and all the force falls on your legs.” Hence, in addition to the preparation for a Marathon, more specific work is added in the previous weeks to strengthen arms and legs.

Each running chair, which has superior stability, is transported by four or five people, who take turns in one kilometer series. Each chair has a person in charge, a relative or a trusted person of the boy or girl who is waiting for them to enjoy their participation in a massive event such as a Marathon. In addition, a physio accompanies the team throughout the journey.

Avapace athletes participate with their own social responsibility insurance, thus exempting the organizers from liability. Typically, they are the last to start, although their times when it comes to crossing the finish line exceed those of many of the participants: “About four hours.”

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