Running in Spain

For some reason, many Spaniards have taken the word correr (literally, “to run”) and started to use the words “runner” and “running,” like so:

El ‘running’ está de moda

Run for your life

Running is popular nowadays in Spain. There is a race every weekend here in Madrid, and every day I see more people out and about, running around the parks near our house. Funnily, as the article says, first they said “jogging,” then they said “footing,” and now they’re saying “running.” They all mean the same thing, so why not say them in Spanish: salir a correr. It’s a phenomenon I’m rather fascinated by, but I’m not like to argue with diehards who say the Spanish language is dying, battered and weary of so many Anglicisms. I think it’s put a new spin on an old hobby, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

I started running at the end of high school, and I’ve kept it up since then, sometimes substituting going to the gym. But I still run 4–5 days a week most weeks. When I came to Spain in college, I didn’t notice a lot of runners. I would often run around outside Toledo’s old city walls, and I would maybe see one other runner. But nowadays, I see tons. Of course, in Madrid you’re more likely to see someone running. It’s all anecdotal, but based on my observations alone, I’d swear the number of runners in Spain has increased dramatically in the last five years.

And the evidence backs it up: Barcelona’s 2012 marathon attracted nearly 20,000 runners, a 28% increase from 2011. And I’d venture to say it’s only gotten bigger since then. What’s the reason for this increase? I can’t pinpoint it, but I’ve someone jokingly say that a man having a midlife crisis in 1990 gets an expensive car, in 2000 he gets a much-younger girlfriend, and 2010 he starts running. Plus, it’s a relatively cheap sport to take up, and you can do it almost anywhere. All you really need are some runnng shoes. The rest is just extra. Some people even claim that it’s addictive!

One thing Spanish runners normally have over runners back home is great gear. Just visit Decathlon, a big sporting goods store here, and you’ll see why. You can buy cheap, professional looking running outfits for way less than you’d spend on something back home. So while I run in an old tee shirt and even older shorts, most of the people I see in Madrid have on whole coordinated outfits. Good for them, but I’m going to stick with my shirt from ninth-grade volleyball …

Are you a runner?

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World Cup 2014: Can Spain Do It Again?

The 2014 World Cup starts today. I’m pretty sure many Americans I know couldn’t care less. But this American is pumped! Let’s get it starrrrrrrrrrted!

Quick confession: I don’t even like soccer that much. I’m a Hoosier, you see, and in the Hoosier state, basketball is king. Still, the longer I stay in Spain, the more I get into it. I even care about La Liga (Spain’s national league) a little bit now! I got excited when Real Madrid won this year’s Champion’s League cup. Nonetheless, my favorite team will always be La Roja, the Spanish national team.

I first came to Spain in 2008. That year, the Spaniards won the Eurocup (kind of like the World Cup, but only for European countries). I actually didn’t even notice. But in 2010, when the South African World Cup rolled around, I was dating a Spaniard … and my dad bought us jerseys!

Mario Spain jersey


How to Have Good Manners in Spain

“Give me a coffee. With milk.” I say to the barista. She turns around immediately and scoops out some dark torrefacto coffee. The machines buzzes and whirs, and a minute later she slides the coffee across the bar to me, without a word.

Rude? Of course not.

Manners in Spain are different from those anywhere else. That much should be obvious right from the get go. But how? What can you do to be polite in Spain? What does Spanish etiquette call for?


Holy Week Outside of Andalucía: Semana Santa Zamorana

Sevilla is famous for its Holy Week processions. When most people (even in Spain) think of Holy Week, they imagine Sevilla, or at the very least, Andalucía. But hold up a second …

© Copyright - J.Pascual

© Copyright – J.Pascual

What is Holy Week anyway?