Up Group & The Authentic Marathon
14-11-2019 | About Us

Up Group had two runners lined up for the authentic Marathon last weekend. They were crazy enough to run their first marathon ever… in Athens!

They were nice enough to answer a few questions from us.

Let’s Meet the beasts

I am Xavier and I have been working for Up for over 20 years!

I am in charge of our IT testing platform and product certification. I only started running 5 years ago, having already completed several half marathons (Lisbon, Tel Aviv, Marrakech, Paris, etc.).

Xavier Manzano

I am Jose. I am a project manager at Up Group, with a love story for our Greek subsidiary: I was in charge of the project for the go for EAT card along with the Up Hellas team. It was then and there, when I visited Athens that I decided to run the Marathon.

José Martins Torres 

Guys, Athens, for your first marathon? Really?

Xavier: The Athens Marathon is obviously considered the authentic, the first in history. So, starting with this one is obviously very symbolic.

Also, I have to admit that I never visited Athens or Greece in the past…  Combining races with discovering new countries is great.

Jose: Xavier, always romanticizing. The truth is a lot simpler: I came back from Athens and just signed us Up 😀

 

Did you train at all for this?

Xavier: Almost 3 months of preparation based on long runs between 15 and 25 km, and shorter high-intensity sessions. We went out 3 times per week, running about 45 weekly kilometers.

The great side is we decided with Jose to do this together, which helped a lot with the preparation and the motivation.

Jose: Yes, it’s always much easier in a group. We ran about 450 kilometers during this period! It wasn’t always easy, but when finding motivation is always easier when you are not alone.

 

Let’s talk about the race.

 Jose: The course was a real discovery for me!

In the most difficult portions, I had to dig deep, and frankly, I manage to go beyond my limits only with the help of the people along the side of the road (a big thanks to all of them).

Xavier: The course is relatively difficult because it’s steep for almost 20kms (until about km 32). As far as I’m concerned, it was painful, I was getting more and more cramps in my thighs… Nevertheless, I managed to finish, because I just couldn’t give up and I kept hearing Jose saying “Think of something nice that will give you the motivation to finish.” That’s what I did!

The finish line & the emotions

Jose: The main goal was to see the finish line and I did it!

The feeling in the last 500 meters was incredible. There were so many people in the streets cheering, chanting. I could feel the energy around the place, the joy of the other runners knowing that they would finish… I started thinking of my family and my sons; of how I wanted them to be proud of their daddy and bring them back the medal.

When I realized that I had achieved all of that… let’s just say I was very emotional. 😊

Xavier: Τhe end of the marathon was incredible; I was driven by the fans along the road who kept encouraging us. And then… the 250m sign, I finally see the amazing, historic, beautiful… Panathenaic Stadium. There were just so many emotional thoughts going through my mind: the pain was replaced by pride, by happiness. It was just amazing!

And now, I can finally say, with a medal around my neck: What a pleasure it is to have managed to surpass myself: I did it.

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