Moroccan athletes Mohamed el-Ghazouani and Douae Ouboukir el-Oihabi were yesterday the winners of the traditional Race of Mercy 2023. More than ten thousand people participated in this competition. And little by little, this public meeting that has functioned throughout its life as an antechamber to Barcelona's biggest party is recovering its pre-pandemic records. Last year, around 8,000 people signed up. The great Sarau of the Catalan capital will take place next weekend.
Many participants in this test - for the rest of their lives, the majority - take these kilometers in a very professional manner, with all the cruelty imposed by the stopwatch, and others, the truth is that more and more a much more playful and personal way. Because every year the Mercè is a more inclusive race, open to all challenges. Here everyone is put to the test, everyone overcomes themselves in one way or another.
All the money collected thanks to the registrations for this year's edition will go to the Associació in via, a social organization focused on sexist violence that aims to eradicate the inequality and abuse that generate violence and discrimination.
In the men's category, El-Ghazouani finished the race after 29 minutes and 20 seconds. In this way, the North African athlete set a new record in this test. Shortly after, the Girona triathlete Nan Oliveras crossed the finish line, with a time of 29 minutes and 55 seconds, and Xavier Badia crossed it in third place, which took 30 minutes and 17 seconds.
El-Ghazouani led the race practically from the beginning, with a very constant and strong pace, under three minutes per kilometer, already dominating the race at his equator. In the end, the Moroccan runner scratched four seconds off the record of this competition, which had been held by Mourad el-Bannouri since 2017. El-Ghazouani had already won this year's Race of the Noses, from the 'last day of the year, and at El Corte Inglés, two of the most popular and most important races that run through the streets of Barcelona.
A Moroccan athlete also won the women's category. The neighboring country is going through very difficult times, and none of this will change the facts, but joys are always welcome. El-Oihabi posted a time of 34 minutes and 47 seconds, ahead of Laura Rodríguez, who needed 35 minutes and 15 seconds, and Cristina Silva, who finished the competition after 35 minutes and 23 seconds. Silva had won the Race of Mercy the previous two years.
The socialist Jaume Collboni made his debut as mayor in this activity and wanted to thank "all those who, year after year, around this time, in the Cursa de la Mercè, turn the city into the great festival of sport". "It is an honor and a joy to inaugurate my first Cursa de la Mercè as mayor of Barcelona," he said.