Agustín Ibarra Villagra is a 25 year old man from Chile who will be travelling all the way to Nottingham to represent Nottingham Forest Community Trust in the Robin Hood Half Marathon 2019. We spoke to Agustín about his preparations for the day and his experiences as an International Nottingham Forest fan.
How long have you been following Nottingham Forest for?
“Well, I think it was around 2009, I was 14 or 15 when I heard about Nottingham Forest for the very first time. As a Chilean you are used to hearing about big teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, we can only watch their matches on TV so it’s a normal thing if you start to ‘support’ those clubs. However, I always felt something was wrong there. I noticed people here weren’t fans of the club itself but of their success, and I don’t like that.”
“When I first heard about Nottingham Forest Football Club, it caught my attention. I was so amazed by the history and the tradition that I felt the need to know more and more about the club. Eventually that led me to look for the matches on the internet (the very first match I watched was Nottingham Forest v Derby County, at the City Ground. Nottingham Forest won 1-0 with a Hobbs´header). Ever since then I have been supporting Forest. Its been 10 years now and it has been a hell of a trip so far.”
Are you a big Nottingham Forest fan?
“No doubt. I have really developed a love for this club (you can not imagine how happy I am with iFollow!). I have had the chance to attend The City Ground three times: against Huddersfield (2016), Girona (2017) and Birmingham (2018). On two different occasions I have had the privilege to get a picture with my all-time favourite player, Chris Cohen. Right now I have 17 NFFC shirts, most of them with Cohen’s number 8 on the back.
My personal goal here is to make sure everybody gets to know Nottingham Forest, so far all of my friends and family know about the club and some of them have even bought a shirt! So no, I don’t consider myself a big Nottingham Forest fan, I think I am a huge Nottingham Forest fan.
What made you want to run and raise money on behalf of Nottingham Forest Community Trust?
“If I have to be honest this might be one of the happiest coincidences in my life. It all started whilst I was on the subway browsing Twitter on my way to the office. I noticed Nottingham Forest Community Trust were asking for people to run in the Robin Hood Half Marathon but that only the very first ten people to send their names in would get a free place. By that time I had been rejected from The London Marathon twice in a row, which really sucked because my dream was to run my very first Marathon outside Chile in England.
So I sent that tweet to a friend and asked him ‘hey, what do you think about this?’ he said that it would be really cool and we started to joke about the idea. Then I thought ‘Well, London already rejected me, twice, so what’s the worst that can happen? Get rejected again?’ so I replied to the tweet. The next Monday it was a match day between Nottingham Forest and Derby County (Forest won 1-0) and I got an email from Nottingham Forest Community Trust after the match saying I was in. I couldn’t believe it. I was aware about what The Trust were doing in the community but I had to read more to get a better idea. Right now this motivates me to learn more about you and if I can bring a small piece of this culture with me to my country it would be huge.”
Have you ever ran a Marathon/Half Marathon before?
“I have never ran a full Marathon but I have run Half Marathons before. However, this one is special for sure, it’s my very first race outside Chile, in one of my favourite cities and representing Nottingham Forest Community Trust. I wouldn’t believe it if someone had told me this would happen to me. It is just too good to be real.”
What have you done in preparation for the Half Marathon?
“This race will be very hard for me, by April I was already running Half Marathons but I got injured which took me out of the game for some months. I thought it wasn’t a big deal but I didn’t get any better. After a few kinesiology sessions I got back on track but with two months to prepare for the race it has been really hard because I lost a lot of time. During this time I have been very careful about my diet, so I go to visit the doctor on a monthly basis and do my running sessions very carefully because I am trying to avoid an injury.”
Are you excited to run the Robin Hood Half Marathon?
“After I got your email I sent two or three more asking for confirmation, I couldn’t believe it. I have been counting down the days since. So yes, I am very excited about the race.”
What else will you be doing whilst on your trip to the UK?
“I will be taking this opportunity to visit some other cities in England, like London and Liverpool. I am also going to be travelling to Dublin, Paris and Madrid.”
Thank you to Agustín and all of the other runners who will be representing us on Sunday 29th September, we can’t wait! You can support Agustín on his journey and donate to his fundraising page here.