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"Sarri was a very social person and with the race we want to bring together all those people who once shared something with him".
Marta Iturriza, and other members of the Department of Industrial Organisation of Tecnun, have organised a popular race as a tribute to Sarri on Sunday 15th September.
A popular race in memory of José Maria Sarriegi, Sarri, who died last December, will be held in San Sebastian on 15 September. The idea came from Marta Iturriza, Sarri's former doctoral student, who, after consulting with the Department of Industrial Organisation at Tecnun, got down to work to organise a race for everyone. "As we want no one to miss out, we have planned two routes, one of 9 kilometres for the more athletic and one of 5 kilometres for those who have just started running. Both routes are very simple. In any case, if someone does not see themselves running and wants to do their bit, we need a lot of volunteers for the route", says Marta Iturriza.
Who are you behind this initiative?
Sarri was my thesis director and we used to go jogging in the afternoons to advance the research. I came up with the idea at the end of December and shared it with my colleagues Cinta Lomba and Patricia Maraña to see if what I had come up with was crazy or not. They liked the idea, we developed it and got down to work. Today the race is already a reality and this is also thanks to its sponsors Futboltek, Irisbond, Tecnun, Fortuna, Natra, San Sebastian City Council, Insalus, Zapiain and some others.
How did the idea of a memorial race in Sarri's memory come about?
Sarri was very sporty and, although his passion was cycling, he used to take part in popular races throughout the year. The Ordizia San Silvestre was always on his calendar because it was the perfect way to say goodbye to the year. Lately he used to argue, with his characteristic personality, that a popular race had to be that "popular", with no need for chips and much less to pay 15€ to run 9 kilometres on a Sunday. Taking this as a premise, we thought that organising a fun run would be a special way of remembering him and saying goodbye to him. The race on 15 September will be chip-timed, but the race bib will only cost 5 euros in an attempt to honour his ideas. Sarri was a social person and with the race we want to bring together all those people who once shared something with him and make it a colourful event.
How many participants do you expect to have?
This is the question we are all asking ourselves. We have data from similar races and we believe that there will be around 1,000 participants. In the registration platform we have set the limit at 1,500, because more registrations would be difficult to manage.
Is the idea to give it continuity over time?
We have not considered it yet. For the moment we know that this year it is going to take place. As I said before, we want the race to serve as a meeting point, and if we want to continue meeting next year, so be it, but for the moment there is nothing in mind.
Are you encountering a good reception from sponsors and participants?
Yes, the reception has been incredible. The City Council has helped us a lot with the initial paperwork, Futboltek and Irisbond didn't hesitate to get involved in the race, we didn't need to explain anything to them. Tecnun also participates by providing financial support as well as facilities and means. And the rest of the sponsors have provided us with their services with an ease that has surprised us.
In general, everyone we have told about the idea or shared the website with has told us that they want to participate, either by running or as a volunteer, and that says a lot about the mark that Sarri has left. There were friends who asked us back in May when the registrations were going to open to sign up, or people who needed to balance the calendar to reserve the date because they really wanted to be there on the 15th of September.