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Chema Martinez (D0603-ESP)

Chema Martinez’ new career

The trail world and racing in stages is rather an alien concept to him right now. However, the Spaniard José Manuel Martinez known as ‘Chema Martinez’ does have an impressive track record in the athletics world. The European Champion in 2002 over 10,000m and European No.2 in Barcelona in the 2010 marathon, he participated in two Olympic Games (in 2004 and 2008) and six world championships prior to putting an end to his top-level career the day after the New York marathon in 2013. Since then, he has converted to journalism and presenting on the radio and television and has written several books, but he hasn’t stopped running. “I found that I had some free time to do other things and I was keen to try other types of longer races.” It’s been quite a while since this 43-year old native of Madrid dreamt of competing in the SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES. “I heard about this race when I was small and a lot of people told me it was a great race you really had to do one day, but I wanted to wait until I’d stopped my road running career to take part.” As such, he’s been waiting for an extra year, just enough time to test himself on the 4 Déserts circuits. In his first stage event back in February, in Jordan’s Sahara Race, he finished 2nd behind the local competitor Salameh Al Aqra. This fine performance has led to a whole new career for him. “It’s an opportunity to be able to run other races by retaining this spirit of competition”, smiles the man who finished 4th in the first leg on Sunday. Indeed, in his head, yesterday’s champion has remained the same. A competitor. “I cannot take the start of race without wanting to win it.” Adversaries be warned!

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