Claudio Orrego: “Sport saves my life”

It was around 11 a.m. and Claudio Orrego crossed the finish line of the Santiago Marathon 2022. The clock of the governor of the metropolitan area, who participated in the 10 kilometers, marked 52 minutes and 14 seconds. “What a pleasure to repeat this event with thousands of athletes!”, was the reaction of the democratically elected authority. The former mayor of Peñalolen enjoyed the day.

Governor Orrego is a sports fanatic. Running and other disciplines. This is why activity played a predominant role, both in the campaign and in the regional administration. In conversation with AS, the authority talks about his great passions and leaves a commitment for the future.

– He is a cyclist, runner…

– Climber too (laughs).

– Since when are you athletic?

– I was an athlete since school. I used to do middle distance or pole vault, but my scout soul is what led me to the outdoors. I love the mountains, I love running and I love all bikes: urban, road and mountain.

– Is sport an important subject in your life?

– It’s the way to free myself. Meditation and sport saved me when I was locked down in the pandemic. I believe that people who regularly participate in a sport, whether competitive or not, are happier, have more energy and have fewer mental health problems. I say this from experience and not from ideology. As one doctor said, running in a pair of running shoes is the cheapest therapy: it helps us be more focused and focused.

– He was even in the New York Marathon. What prompted you to travel?

– I always wanted to run a marathon, but I saw it as impossible because of my public service program. So I said ‘when I leave the Intendance, I’m going to prepare myself and I’m going to run one’ and everyone told me that the most beautiful is New York. So I went and raced the 42K there and it was awesome.

– And the difficulty?

– I think it’s not so easy because there are bridges and they are very complicated. I trained for six months, lost 10 pounds, ran and enjoyed it. It was a party. There were about 50 or 60 thousand people walking that distance: old, young, rich, poor and of all religions. Sport federates and also gives cities an identity.

– This is the way to go?

– The New York Marathon showed me something I had often heard: that cities that organize international sporting events also promote themselves. For this reason, the Santiago Marathon people know they have a fan here. I don’t get into little fights, I just hope that more and more people will participate.

– Do you already have another Major in your sights? Berlin?

– Actually, I won the Berlin lottery, but the pandemic came and I couldn’t go. And now, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to train what’s necessary for this because of my problem, but it’s waiting there. I continue to exercise and it saves my life.

– Can Santiago become a cycling city?

– We promised in the campaign that we would have 200 new kilometers of cycle paths, but now we are looking for a way to reach 900. I want Santiago to be the most bikeable and pedestrian city in Latin America. It’s good to have cars, but a good city isn’t defined by the number of vehicles.

– How would you define a good city, then?

– This is where citizens spend little time in the car during the week and use another means of transport: public, bicycle, walking, or a combination. For sustainable mobility, we go with everything.

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