The medal and a hug: The emotional reunion of the family of marathonist Hugo Catrileo

Attentive to the Puerto Saavedra local’s arrival at the finish line, two groups that didn’t know each other a few years back met. Some got up early and traveled from afar, and others took advantage of their residence in the capital. Attention, because the coincidences never fail to surprise.

The Catrileo family carries sports in their blood. That's how José Calfuleo (53) tells it, cousin in second grade of the marathoner Hugo Catrileo, who has just reached the finish line and obtained the silver medal. "In 2016, I realized that the same Physical Education teacher trained me when I was a kid in high school. He turned my relative into a champion" he affirms. He's accompanied by his wife Marta and his daughter Erika, who competes at the 3,000-meter hurdle race, with painted faces, wearing Chile shirts, and one flag that has the surnames of the four athletes that represented the country in the discipline. 

Once she recognized the pavilion, Marta Tapia, mother of the silver medalist, greeted them and they hugged. They knew Hugo from a few years ago and they have shared competitions that Erika was part of, but they didn't know the rest of the direct relatives. José is from Puerto Saavedra, just like Catrileo, but he has lived in Santiago for 30 years. He was also a marathonist and was taught by the same coach, Victor Hugo Belmar, and they reconnected after 20 years due to his contact with Catrileo. 

Hugo Catrileo obtained second place and won the silver medal at the marathon of Santiago 2023 (Photo: Photosport).

"I feel proud, I didn’t sleep much last night. I thought I was going to run. I felt the same thing in my stomach when I ran in the south. It's a tremendous emotion, something very nice," adds José. Erika Calfuleo comments that "it's nice to realize that at the end, athletics and sports reunited our family."

Elena Catrileo is Hugo's paternal aunt and key support in his sports development in the capital. She did that by offering her house as an accommodation and also with her affection; not only for him but also for his teammates and coaches. She said "he was born in Puerto Saavedra and studied there. After that, he went to Nuevo Imperial, where he put more effort into his career. Now he’s where he wants to be.'' Marta Tapia, his mom, traveled all night from Puerto Saavedra and shared her feelings before the closing. "I'm happy and blissful because people are supporting him. I've met with people that know me and they greet me."

Due to this huge achievement, Catrileo will get the Proddar Scholarship, which consists of a monthly payment of 300,000 Chilean pesos. Additionally, he will get a specific prize for the silver medal that ascends to 9,500,000 Chilean pesos.

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