Juli Pernas, director of the Barcelona Olympic Foundation, and David Llorens, deputy director of the sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo, have launched the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first edition of the Jean Bouin race, the oldest athletics competition in the country besides the official Catalan and Spanish track and cross country championships.
Jaume Grau, historical promoter of the race, explained the beginning of the event and development of these 100 years of history. The Jean Bouin race was born on 1 February 1920 under the leadership of a group of journalists —Josep Antoni Trabal, Lluís Meléndez and Rossend Calvet— who loved athletics. This connection with journalism resulted in a permanent link between the event and the media. In 1926, Mundo Deportivo made its debut as organiser of the event, and after repeating various times, in 1941 it ultimately took charge of the organisation up to this day. The official name of the race is Jean Bouin Mundo Deportivo Grand Prix Allianz.
It is worth noting that this year the Jean Bouin race is celebrating its 96th edition, since it was interrupted several times between 1936 and 1939 due to the Spanish Civil War and was also suspended in 1955 and 1967. On the other hand, the race was held twice in 1957.
The importance of an event such as the Jean Bouin race was highlighted and discussed in the round table moderated by Josep Maria Rubí and integrated by Josep Maria Antentas, vice-president of the Catalan Athletics Federation, and athletes Carmen Valero, Reyes Estévez and Encarna Escudero. Especially because the race includes school and federated categories of all levels: youth, junior, promise, senior, etc., which turns it into the great ‘party’ of track and field. As Reyes Estévez pointed out: ‘you can’t consider yourself an athlete if you have never run the Jean Bouin race. It’s an event we have all participated in at some point in our lives, and it’s also one of our best memories.’