Ayad Lamdassem has his sights set on winning his first major gold medal at the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships after his record-breaking performance in the Seville Marathon on Sunday (20).
Fifth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last summer, Lamdassem continued to flourish at the age of 40 by finishing sixth in 2:06:24. He gained sole ownership of the Spanish record which he shared with Hamid Ben Daoud at 2:06:35 and he also smashed the world over-40 best.
Lamdassem is by no means a new name on the European distance running scene – having won European cross country individual silver medals in 2010 and 2011 and being a member of a plethora of Spanish medal-winning teams, as well as the half marathon silver medal at the 2016 European Athletics Championships – but in the last four years the Spaniard has very much found his niche at the marathon.
And at 40, he is getting faster.
"I'm very happy with this time, it was my goal. I was training very well and I wanted to take advantage of that work so I opted for Seville when I found out I couldn't go to Japan [for the Tokyo Marathon].
“I loved this circuit - several friends had already told me it was very good to run here and it was,” Lamdassem told Spanish newspaper Marca after the race.
Lamdassem also expanded on his future goals and despite being officially classed in the veteran ranks, he plans to stay in the sport for at least another full Olympic cycle which would take him all the way to a prospective fourth appearance in a Spanish vest at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
"I want to be European champion in Munich. I want to get below 2:05 and I would also like to get to Paris [for the 2024 Olympics]” he stated.
Lamdassem will be one of the oldest competitors on the start-line for the marathon in Munich but the marathon is an event which does not discriminate by age.
The oldest ever European champion across all events is Great Britain’s Jack Holden who won the marathon title aged 43 in 1950 and the oldest ever medallist in European Championships history is Finland’s Vaino Muinonen who came away with bronze in 1946.
More recently, Jose Manuel Martinez became Spain’s oldest ever medallist at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona 2010 when he won silver in the marathon at the age of 38, another record Lamdassem could improve upon later this summer.