Ben Daoud, the marathon record that arrived in Spain on the underside of a truck

December 17, 2021

Hamid Ben Daoud (Er-Rachidia, Morocco, 1996), Spanish marathon record holder After the mark achieved in Valencia on December 5, he did not learn to walk. He directly got to his feet to run. He hasn’t stopped doing it for all these years. Ran in 2010 for sneaking into the underside of a truck through which he managed to access Spain.

He sped up time later to get the nationality that a court wanted to deny him after a false calculation of his age. And now he runs ahead of the rest, “always up to the limit,” according to what he assures in conversation with El Periódico de España, which he attends with a stopwatch that is still stopped at two hours six minutes and 35 seconds.

This combination of figures allowed Hamid Ben Daoud to match the mark achieved by Ayad Lamdassem, another Spaniard of Moroccan origin, in the Valencia Marathon – “the city of runners”, as the athlete recalls – last year. It cannot be said that Hamid did not warn, since in the presentation of the test you could see perfectly written on his Nike shoes: ‘R.E’. The athlete with residence in Zamudio (Bizkaia) joked that it was a dedication to his partner, but those initials meant what in the end they were: a Spanish record, shared, although it could be exclusive, as some shouted when he crossed the finish line. However, the official time of the judges recorded the match.

Juvenile center

“When I reached the finish line, I thought I had lowered the mark, but in the end there was an unprecedented situation in Spanish athletics, with two athletes equaling the same time in the marathon”, an iconic event that elevated Martín to glory Fiz and Abel Antón, in which a new batch is reflected that, however, has surpassed the marks of those who paved the way. Even if his reference is Chema Martínez, “a fighter who never gives up. I love his personality. And also its image. In the Valencia Marathon last year I shaved myself like him. Less weight, more aerodynamics ”, he jokes.

“My reference is Chema Martínez, a fighter who never gives up, I love his personality”

Hamid Ben Daoud licked the record for weeks. However, his attempt was about to stay in that phase. “I was in Morocco when the air lockdown occurred. We managed to ‘escape’ at the last minute thanks to another teammate and athlete, Abdelaziz Merzougui. So we acted as quickly as we had to take a flight from Agadir to Seville ”, says who now manages fluidly across borders.

It was not always like this. The 14-year-old Hamid knew this well, who now remembers in the mouth of the Spanish record holder what happened in 2010. “I am from Er-Rachidia, a Moroccan desert area, where the hope of getting ahead is small”, Dusts the athlete, who, without notifying his parents, one of the axes of his personality, took his gear to follow the example he saw on the news, where thousands of young people appeared“ trying to find a better future ”.

Many do not get to tell it or have to go back in the first attempts. But “the man from the desert who risked his life to earn a living”, as he defines himself, clung with all his might to the wheels of a truck in Nador that was going to get on the ferry to Algeciras. And then you say, fuck i made it. However, this is only a triumph. It’s time to go forward ”, he recalls.

His next goal was to raise money to pay for a ticket that would take him to Euskadi, where he still resides today. “I knew that my destination was a juvenile center. He had no acquaintances. He had heard that in Bilbao there were institutions where kids were trained. So I didn’t think about it. ” He ended up in the center of Zabaloetxe, in Loiu, 12 kilometers from Bilbao, “a high performance sports center,” Hamid jokes, because Abdelaziz Merzougui also passed through it (Guelmin, Morocco, 1991).

“I knew that my destination was a center for minors and I knew that in Bilbao they were training kids”

First race

The runner who saved the Spanish record holder from the blockade in Morocco also shares a club with Ben Daoud, the Mallorcan Calviá. Merzougui made his debut in a marathon in Valencia and signed an excellent two hours eight minutes and 52 seconds, being the second Spaniard in the event. You have to add an extra merit. Days before the competition, when he notified Hamid, he had buried his father in his native country. Abdelaziz, junior European cross country champion (2010) and 3,000 hurdles under-23 champion (2013), also has the character forged by fire.

The biographical account is similar in the case of Ayad Lamdassem (Ifní, Morocco, 1981), with whom Ben Daoud shares a record. Another Moroccan who sought refuge in Spain after deserting in a Junior World Cup held in Santiago de Compostela. The night before the competition, he eloped Together with other colleagues who thus began a new life, “in which absolutely no one has given us anything,” Hamid insists on remembering.

Because despite his faith and thanking God for his record in the Spanish marathon, “I don’t believe in fate, only in work”. Under this premise, the athlete got down to work as soon as he landed in Euskadi. He started in First of ESO and finished this stage, to later study a cycle of Professional Training in Air Conditioning. Already then he practiced sport, although not the one that will allow him to mark an era in Spanish sport.

“I started playing soccer at the Otxarkoaga Training Center, until my coach, Hassan Reddad, whom I met at the juvenile center, insisted that I start running. I refused, I told him that he owed me to my club… ”, he explains before reaching the stage in which he ended up being convinced. Or not at all, because he made his first career with the football kit.

“This is how I stood on my first foray into athletics. But wait … As soon as I started, I ran like crazy. The most veteran competitors told me: ‘this one is going to puncture at 200 meters’. Well, I ended up winning in all categories ”. The taste of triumph computerized Ben Daoud as an athlete, but still it remained to know which was the discipline that best suited him.

“Look, the first test I did on the track was the 100 meters! I did not even know the routine to place the tacos. It was a show. I finished in 11 seconds ”. Then came the cross, indoor tests, outdoor challenges; 3,000, 5,000, 1,000… “Until in 2017 I said to myself, well, you have to try something else. Discover new things and I precisely ran my first marathon in Valencia, where I managed to do two hours, 12 minutes and 35 seconds ”, he comments with an astonishing naturalness, about his progression and conquest of a test that puts the human body to the limit.

“The first test I did was the 100 meters, I didn’t even know how to place the studs. I finished in 11 seconds.”

However, what Hamid experienced seems to have altered his genetic code, because in his sixth marathon he has been able to set the best national mark. Its spectacular progression has been as follows:

2017 – 2h12: 31 (Valencia)

2018 – 2h10: 21 (Valencia)

2019 – 2h08: 14 (Prague)

2020 – 2h07: 33 (Seville)

2020 – 2h07: 03 (Valencia)

2021 – 2h06: 35 (Valencia)

Among the logical objectives in mind is represent Spain in the World Athletics Championships of Eugene (USA) 2022 and the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, with which to remove the thorn of Doha, where he could not be due to injury, and Tokyo. He achieved the minimum for these Olympics, but last year’s Lamdassem brand from Valencia, the rights acquired by Javi Guerra after winning the national championship and Dani Mateo’s 10th place in Doha 2019 left him out of the selection. “I’d rather not talk about that. You have to live in the present and, above all, rest ”, he says over the phone that he has picked up after hitting a well-deserved dream that, after what he has lived, no one takes away from him.

The co-owner of the Spanish marathon record, in addition to being a catalyst in the discipline, has reached maturity in it with just 25 years. “There are people who tell me that I am still very young and that I am going to melt quickly. I don’t care, I feel comfortable with what I do. The marathon goes beyond age and consists of submitting to the impossible”, He insistently defends, self-determining in each answer, an author’s trademark that he was forced to adopt.

A brother in his footsteps

Today is a reality of Spanish sport, however, Hamid Ben Daoud was on the verge of being expelled after achieving his first successes in athletics such as Spanish championships in various disciplines. The unpleasant situation started from a air calculation of his age that had been done in 2010, shortly after arriving, looking at his hand. As he well remembers, “all minors under guardianship in a center have the right to request residency”, but they wanted to impose the other way on him, that of adults, “by which you have to prove 10 years of registration.”

Knowing the aforementioned proof of age, a court ruled in 2013 that he was of legal age and that, therefore, he could not be in a juvenile center. “That was a big lie and thanks to my coach, we put the matter in the hands of Borja Osés, a lawyer with whom we managed to demonstrate, through my family book, that I was born on February 19, 1996”. Date recorded forever, such as December 26, 2018, when he finally obtained nationality.

Now there is another Ben Daoud who hopes to successfully complete a vital journey, similar to his older brother. “Last year, in November, he made the journey from Morocco to Lanzarote in a boat in which eight people died. Thank God it was not his turn, ”says the Spanish record holder, the best in his discipline in this country, but who has seen how another member of his family risked his life just as he did in 2010.

“My brother came to Spain in a boat to Lanzarote in which eight people died”

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After this tragic situation with your brother and everything you’ve experienced, today you would tell a 14-year-old boy to do the same as you.

(Maintains a silence) Yes, everyone has the right to a choice, to seek their future and to improve their life and that of their family.



Reference-www.elperiodico.com