Everything is running, Ayad Lamdassem says to himself, an eternity of marathon runner, he is already 41 years old and here he is still in the ointment.
Everything is running, and if you have to go, you go, it's 24 degrees humid in Budapest, speed up Hakizimana, or Yamashita, or one of the Ugandans, or the Kenyan Kiplagat, a stilt-footed man who doesn't know how to open the bottle, nervous is already on the way to the half marathon.
They have gone through half the test and there are many in that package, the race promises.
True, Kipchoge, Bekele, or Kiptum, the most popular names in the discipline, do not compete in the World Cups, but here nobody gives up. The race doesn't fly, they pass the half marathon in 1h05m25s, but so many faces, so many applicants, have their odds and ends.
Among them is Lamdassem, lord of Sidi Ifni who 21 years ago, when he was playing a university competition in Santiago de Compostela, had decided to leave the Moroccan concentration to open up a future as an athlete in Spain.
Clara was his bet, his determination, time has shown it (he was fifth in the Tokyo 2020 Games: he is an athletics professional, his finances are comfortable) and his insistence on this fight in Budapest is showing it. Change Kiplagat again, try your luck again and he is followed by children waving Hungarian flags, running cheering him from the other side of the railing as the children of war applauded the liberation armies, and now, on the eve of the wall (km 28), the combat is broken and everything else is broken, the group and the forces of Lamdassem.
Ugandans in yellow, Ethiopians in green and Kenyans in red are ahead and Sidi Ifni's Spaniard (fifth in the Tokyo 2020 Games, Spanish distance record holder, with 2h06m25s) no longer has any options, he dismounts and loses by behind, how hard is the life of a marathon runner, I wonder if it is the worst job in the world, how hard it is even when you like it so much that you have left everything for it. Lamdassem he ends up like a chrome, curled up like a ball on the orange carpet, he is 22nd (2h12m59s), just one position behind the best Spaniard, Tariku Novales (2h12m39s).
Novales' story also deserves a point and aside.
Javier Sánchez, a special envoy for El Mundo, told us recently: Tariku Novales was born in Ethiopia, it is not known exactly when ("I don't know how old I am," he says), and had been given to an orphanage. He had believed that his mother had died in childbirth, and he had only discovered the truth a few years ago, when traveling to Ethiopia from Guadalajara, where he now lives and trains, under the orders of Juan del Campo: investigating his origins , he had found out that his biological mother still lives, another thing is where.
(El tercer español, Ibrahim Chakir, es 24.º: 2h13m44s).
Everyone dedicates the moment to Ángel Basas and his son Carlos, physiotherapists who had met with death in a traffic accident in Australia, after the Bathurst Cross Country World Championships.
At km 30, strange things happen.
Ugandan Stephen Kissa, half-marathon prodigy (58m56s), Joshua Cheptegei's training partner on the roads of Kapchorwa, maneuvers in the group but bumps into Kiplagat, the Kenyan strider, and kisses the asphalt. He gets up a few seconds later, although he doesn't arrive anymore, his options are nil: he will be fifth.
And at a refreshment station, the Israeli Maru Teferi skates on the water that someone spilled there and practices aquaplaning. He is redone in the last section, goes back to silver, but from there it does not go.
(He snatches second place from Gebresilase, who arrives cramped, this man has given everything).
At km 34 there are no Kenyans and the Ugandan Victor Kiplangat and the Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase, still standing, run a kilometer in 2m49s (from km 30 to 35 they set a partial time of 14m39s) and dismount Tamirat Tola, the 2022 champion that melts under the Hungarian heat, and now the outcome is an interesting twenty-minute chase: the 23-year-old Ugandan who is the stepbrother of the absent Jacob Kiplimo (same father, different mother) sets the pace and also trains in Kapchorwa, with Cheptegei, followed by Gebresilase, treads on his tracks until km 38, already entered the last of the five laps, when he can't take it anymore.
Kiplangat is fire and it is gold (he wins in 2h08m53s) and it is the present, the link that links the times of Stephen Kiprotich, the Ugandan who had taken the title in Moscow 2015, and Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who governs in the 10,000 and which plans to extend to the marathon in the coming months, for example in Valencia, in December.