Julián Iglesias (@julianigle11), born in 62, is now 56 years old and has been devoting a large part of his life to sport for 46 years. Both basketball and walking have accompanied him in these years and have been part of his life. So much so that behind him has already 20 years playing basketball and more than 110 marathons marching.

Since 2016 always accompanied by his inseparable number 32, Iglesias has become international medalist Veteran in the European and World Championships and Spanish record veteran in 30 and 50 km. We have been able to talk to him about his motivation, his solidary implication and his long trajectory.

The number 32 in honour of Fernándo Leira Almagro

Whenever we see Julián marching we will see him accompanied by two numbers: his number and his inseparable number 32 – of which we can learn more on Twitter by visiting the hashtag #dorsal32 -. Julián tells us how he got to him a little by chance and what it has meant and means to him right now:

“By chance, in a forum, there were some who were wearing it (number 32) and I asked.  Fernando Leira Almagro was sick with ALS. He had been a popular runner, like us, and always fought to give visibility to ALS, not to raise funds, but to ask for more research and help to dependency” and it was because of him that the number 32 movement originated.

Iglesias indicates that right now it is a question of making all “rare diseases” visible: “just as for ALS also for other orphan diseases (rare diseases are called), I think it is a duty of advanced countries, and ours is supposed to be. With the crisis, it was the first thing that was cut.

Fernando Leira Almagro died a few years ago, but some of his colleagues, such as Julián, still carry his number: “We continue to wear his bib to claim the government’s involvement for more research into ALS and other orphan diseases, which is very much needed. It doesn’t cost me anything to wear.

Julián Iglesias wears it with pride, knowing that he can help to make it visible: “between the fact that I’m quite bulky, that I’m marching and I’m in many marathons, I’m going more than others. I have it small at the front and big at the back, so I think it’s difficult not to see it, although it calls a lot of attention, I don’t care, and marching I call it anyway.  I hope the day arrives that it is not necessary to take it”.

Between basketball and walking has lived his sporting life

Julian devoted most of his youth to basketball, playing from 1973 (when he was 11) until he was 31 in 1993. In 75-76 he combined basketball with walking: “As a child, many of us signed up for a test of the Barcelona school league and I got there first. That’s cool for a kid, and at school and club they called you for more tests”.

However, he quit and devoted himself completely to basketball until 1993. In 2010 Julián quit smoking and, in his words, “I exchanged one vice for another” and it was as he returned to the march: “it was less annoying for the back (I am operated on a broken vertebra, and the impact is less violent than running), also I have always considered that I had outstanding accounts with the march, for not having continued to do it.

His first marathon in his return to the march was in Madrid in 2012, although since 2010 I had participated in many federated walking events.

The importance of training and injury care

One of the reasons why Julián left basketball in 1993 was the number of injuries he had: “I left basketball 26 years ago because I had all my body punished for injuries. Hence the walker has to be careful with his body: “I have the body quite punished, I try not to force with what is worse. Things that I had very annoyed have given me truce (knees, back).

However, other parts of his body do not always do the same: “is chaos and soleus sometimes bother. And the weakest point are the feet, foot problems and with a foot made a mess of report and big that is, is what has given me more problems in recent times. Even so, Iglesias says he is fortunate not to have had serious injuries since 2014.

But he is clear: “I try to avoid risks. For example, when I made weight machines in a gym, a few days later I hurt myself, so even if it helped me, it was weighted. If my toes hit me, I can’t martyr them and the ecliptic. This week the ischium was bad in the last marathon for spinning (I think), I will try to do miles in the Retiro.

Hence the importance of the training that Julián continues, attending to his needs: “it varies, depending on the job, the physical state of injuries/pains and if I have marathons on those days. The idea is to go to the Retreat to march, but with injuries/pains, on many occasions, I take refuge in the elliptical because it is less harmful.

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