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Spanish runner checks Thanksgiving Day Road Races off bucket list (12 photos)

Man travels from Barcelona to Gueph to take part in one of the world's 10 oldest running races

Toni Santisteban had the Thanksgiving Day Road Races on his bucket list.

The 44-year-old Spaniard is in the process of completing a bucket list that involves running in the 10 oldest races in the world. One of those races is the Thanksgiving Day Road Races.

On Monday, the affable Santisteban was at Exhibition Park taking part in three of the events on the day, the 5 km, the 3 km and the 1 mile races.

Sunday night he flew back to Barcelona.

"I am only here just for this race," the Barcelona native said in broken English at the race site Monday.

"I run all my life, okay? Since I was a child. I run around 1,700 races in the world. A lot of races in the world.

"But then I think 'what more can I make in my runner's life? I think, 'run all the oldest races in the world,' and this is one."

Guelph's Thanksgiving Day Road Races are over 100 years old. Santisteban said it is the seventh oldest in the world.

It's got a way to go before it can come close to the world's oldest running race, the Palio del Drappo Verde in Verona, Italy, which was first ran in 1208,

And yes, Santisteban has run that one, along with other top 10 oldest races in France, Scotland, Holland and the United States.

He has three left on his list: two in France and one in Japan.

Of course the obvious question gets the obvious answer.

"Why?" he was asked.

"Why not?" he replied, adding a hearty laugh.

A competitive runner much of his life, Santisteban said when he stopped running marathons and trying to win races, he asked himself what would he like to accomplish in his running.

"I think that I live in a moment like a runner, because after I run competitive to make my best time, training, training, training. Then I say 'what can I make to be happy and to complete history? All those races, why not?"

Monday's event drew a solid turnout to help raise money for the Guelph General Hospital Foundation, with roughly 300 runners taking part in various combinations of the five races offered.

Jackson Laundry won the competitive 10k event, finishing in just under 33 minutes.


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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