The first Spanish woman in the last UTMB, 170 kilometers long, was given over to a sedentary lifestyle and smoking until a divorce, some oppositions and the invitation of some friends changed her life.
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Aroa So. 37 years She works as an administrator for the Commonwealth of Montes de Vigo and in the afternoons gives private lessons to teenagers. She doesn’t do any sports, she smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, she drowns going up a few stairs.
Aroa So. 43 years old. He lives by running in the mountains, in fact, he has a three-year contract with Craft. This summer he has completed the two best-known 170-kilometre races, the American Western States and the Montblanc Ultra Trail (UTMB), where he finished eighth.
How do you understand such a change, so drastic, so late?
Now I live another life, a dream. A few years ago, after a divorce, I was working long hours, I could barely see my daughter and I decided to prepare for a police examination. They asked me to run a kilometer in less than four minutes and I managed to do it, I complied, but I almost died trying. I had a terrible time. Oh I realized I had to change. If I continued down that path at 50 or 60 years old I would have problems, for sure. I went to my GP for help to quit smoking and started exercising, going to the gym, cycling… But I didn’t want anything to do with running. For months some friends insisted and insisted that I go out with them in the mountains until one day I accepted and I was blown away: we left at six in the morning and watched the sunrise from the top of the mountain. Boo! The creeps. And since then I haven’t stopped, explains the feeling of trail running, surprise at the last UTMB. A debutant ahead of more established figures such as the American Hillary Allen.
His career breaks all the paradigms of elite sport, denies the importance of early specialization, although he has a trick, the best known trick: talent.
A podium to start
Because Aroa So started training at the age of 37, but as a child she had already practiced athletics and excelled very quickly, as soon as she took strides again. In his first race, of 45 kilometers, the Somiedo Challenge of 2016, he finished third practically without meaning to.
I was happy, super calm, freaking out. I did not expect that result at all, more competing with Uxue Friar, which the previous year had been second in UTMB. Ah a coach I knew, Javier Laburutold me I was a diamond in the rough and we started working together, remembers the runner whose life the mountain also changed in many other aspects: up there she met her current husband, Abel Noalso a runner and up there he inspired his mother, over 60 years old, who has become a runner.
Now So, with the peace of mind that he can dedicate himself 100% to mountain races, prepares for the end of the season with a World Cup at stake and looks far, far away. Despite her age, she is a newcomer to the elite and she wants nothing to do with retirement. Continue until the body d, leave it when you see that I’m stuck. I know I’m not going to live on this forever, I’m enjoying it. Sometimes I think what she would have been through if she had started at 20, but maybe now she would be much more tired. I am 43 years old and I feel very fresh, the most unexpected mountain runner ends: from smoking and sedentary lifestyle to the top.