More than 4,000 people enjoyed this peculiar sporting and charity event, which reached its third year in excellent form.
Sunday 8 October began with bright blue skies as the sun, still half-asleep, prepared to shine on one of the highlights of the year at Mercabarna: the Race. And for good reason. The 2,000 runners and their families and friends went to the market site which has opened its gates to the curious public since 2015. It is an event which has also become an ideal opportunity for companies and workers to experience the place where they work in a different way. In addition, this year's race had an extra degree of fun and excitement, as it was part of the celebrations for Mercabarna's 50th birthday.
The runners, with their numbered bibs clearly visible on their special anniversary shirts, gathered at the starting line in the Carrer Major, decorated for the occasion with colourful balloons and crowned with a golden number 50. The race began at 11 o'clock in the morning and, like last year, went through the food park streets, passing important locations such as the Central Fish Market and Halls B, C and F of the Central Fruit and Vegetable Market, where a number of open stalls gave a warm welcome to the athletes.
The children's party
The party was already in full swing in Hall A, where, over the course of the morning, about 500 children had a great time taking part in the different activities. This was because the hall was turned into an athletics track for future runners aged 5 to 15, who demonstrated their sporting abilities in the mini-races and sprints and other events of skill, together with the long jump, shot putt and vortex throwing, all organized by the Atlètic Barcelonès Club.
At the same venue, a magic show titled La Nevera de Profit was organized by the Catalan Waste Agency, which gave out advice on how not to waste food. Workshops were also conducted to encourage healthy eating, such as making fruit skewers, an activity promoted by the "5 a day" campaign, and discovering the food pyramid, led by the Red Cross. Finally, families were also invited to fill in the crossword on the history of Mercabarna and to have fun-packed photos taken at a festive photo call.
Full commitment from the sponsors
The more experienced runners knew that, after crossing the finishing line, they would still have to face another healthy task: to carry the spectacular runner's bag. The bag, full of fresh produce provided by companies from the market (mandarin oranges, onions, sweet potatoes, bananas, kiwis, pears, apples, sausages, two fruit bars, a pineapple and a salad), also contained an amusing table mat for children and the cookbook written by the Alícia Foundation in honour of Mercabarna's 50th anniversary.
In addition to filling the runner's bag, the thirty Cursa sponsors - made up of companies from the market and wholesale and retail trade associations - contributed fresh food at the refreshment points, the charity meal, the children's activities and the winners' prizes. In other cases the sponsors made financial contributions and provided logistical services.
A sweet end to the party
Before enjoying the hearty meal, the participants still had to undergo another test of skill: to gracefully carry a lunch tray laden with sausages, sardines, bread and tomato, fruit and drinks. And, like any other birthday party, there came the moment to blow out the candles on the cake, specially made by renowned pastry chef Christian Escribà. The spectacular nature of the delicious 1.7-metre-high cake, with five layers representing the different sectors of activity (fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood, meat, flowers and plants) added a touch of sweetness to an unforgettable day.
The Arrels Foundation, beneficiary of the charity race
Once again, the participants displayed their commitment to the year's charity cause, the Arrels Foundation, a social entity which cares for homeless people in Barcelona. A total of 3,000 euros were raised from the collection at the meal and the voluntary donations of those registered. This amount rose to 6,000 euros as a result of the contribution from La Caixa's Obra Social, which had promised to double the total raised.
As in previous years, the preparation of the runners' bags was left to the Cares Foundation, whose work focuses on the integration of people with intellectual disabilities. Similarly, in keeping with the fight against food waste, the Food Bank collected the fresh products left over from the day.