This athlete from Gran Canaria defies his age by preparing marathons for almost four decades and maintaining an impressive physical shape
Salvador Sánchez is preparing marathons at the age of 78 and his next challenge is to run the Circular de Tejeda. He will face a total of 48 kilometers as an exclusive challenge for him, since he says “starting at a disadvantage over the other runners” in terms of years, but not in terms of “strength of mind” is concerned. Sánchez assures that he feels very happy after granting his first interview as an athlete and not as a sculptor, his work in free time.
–With your extensive experience, what is the trajectory of the Salvador athlete?
I started playing sports at a very young age. At 9 years old I already put on the work overalls and until now, I have not left it nor do I plan to leave it. Constancy and sacrifice is something that characterizes me. He ran in children’s and youth leagues and alternated with Lucha Canaria. At the age of 22, I put it aside to dedicate myself to soccer, playing for the historic Sporting de San José. I retired and signed up for Judo. Already at the age of 36 I got involved with athletics, specifically in the CAI (Club Atlético Independiente) and right now I am going to celebrate four decades in this world.
-If you had to define yourself as a person and as an athlete, how would you do it?
-I try to have a healthy mind, so that day-to-day things do not affect me too much. No vices, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t eat meat and I’m always taking care of myself. From a very young age I have been linked to sport and also athletics in particular. Illusion, strong minded, fighting until the end, enthusiasm, will and ability to achieve the challenges that I set myself, are some of my fundamental characteristics.
What is your secret to staying in shape at that age?
I have never stopped playing sports. All my life I have. My secret to running marathons at 78? Eat well and train. I have been very careful with my diet, I eat a lot of stew with gofio (between laughs). I have always been a healthy man and I try to set an example for the new generations.
-How is your day to day?
I train six times a week. Four days I do races alternating the different modalities of athletics and two I go to the gym to lift weights. Rest one day a week. I always tell my nephew that I am an old warrior in decline, and he adds to the sentence: “yes, but sustained.”
-Are you preparing a marathon in particular, what is your next challenge?
-To this day, with this pandemic that we suffered in 2020, I had to leave it for two years, but in this 2023 I am preparing to face a great challenge for myself. The challenge of finishing the Tejeda Circular. A total of 48 kilometers and I’ve never done it, I’m very excited.
-He has a long history of marathons on his back.
-I have run about 40 marathons, half of them I ran on asphalt and then focused on the mountains. I have taken several first places. For example, in the K42 of Maspalomas I have participated three times, and all three times I have reached first place. I have also run and completed several TransGranCanaria.
-What was the last race you participated in?
-The last one was the Challenger in Tenerife and the Circular de Tejeda, but the 25 kilometer one, whether you like it or not, also sticks.
– Do you have any hobbies?
-I’m a sculptor. My father was a good cabinetmaker. I studied at the School of Art and when I finished my degree he called me at the Luján Pérez School to give classes to the students. I am currently still teaching, I have been immersed for 26 years. I work on wooden sculptures and I like what I do. I have more than 30 exhibitions and I hope to continue.