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Athletics can be considered to have been introduced into Gipuzkoa in 1914, when on 31 July of that year, a first athletics festival was held at Alza's Jolastokieta pitches. Several Real Sociedad athletes were involved in this competition, as evidenced by the results in the various events. However, the first photo bearing witness to the existence of an athletics team is that which features some of the club's athletes sporting the La Real badge in 1916. The club's athletics team is over a century old and was actually founded before the inception of the Gipuzkoa Athletics Federation, which was created in 1916. Whilst we don't know for sure, it be wouldn't be a risky assumption to suggest that the athletics team has been in place since the club's foundation on 7 September 1909, given that football clubs involved the practice of a range of different sports in those days.

The meeting held at the offices of Club Deportivo Fortuna to discuss the inception of the Gipuzkoa Athletics Federation in 1916 was attended by representatives from the nine local clubs in operation at the time. Amongst these clubs were Real Sociedad, who are the only one of these institutions to have continuously run an athletics team right up until today.

Real Sociedad boasts a men's athletics team which is amongst the strongest in Spain, having finished the 2016 season in seventh spot in the División de Honor (after finishing fourth in 2013 and 2014 and fifth in 2015), which is home to the nation's top 16 clubs. Furthermore, in the Copa del Rey held in January 2017, La Real achieved a fifth-place finish. The club boasts the longest history across the elite Spanish athletics scene, given that the other historic club, FC Barcelona, disbanded in 2010.

There are currently several Basque record holders in the Real Sociedad ranks in various disciplines, whilst some of the club's athletes are regularly called up to the Spanish team, to both the youth and senior set-ups. In addition, since 2014, La Real has been running a revamped athletics school to promote athletics amongst the youngest members of our community. This initiative ensures that the team's future is safeguarded. The team also works closely with top-level feeder clubs across Gipuzkoa in the shape of CD Eibar and Txindoki, two leading clubs within Basque athletics.

During the 2016/17 campaign, the club fielded three women's teams, who competed in the División de Honor, Primera División and Segunda División, whilst the club's men's side took their place in Segunda.

The club's feeder team is Santo Tomas Lizeoa, who have teams competing in the Juvenil, Cadete and Infantil divisions. These teams are coached by players and coaches of the Real Sociedad women's team.

Olympic and international athletes

Numerous Olympians have graced the Real Sociedad ranks, with the following seven athletes representing the club at the world's leading athletics event: Diego Ordoñez (Paris 1924 and 1928), Félix Mendizabal (Paris 1924), José Luis Falcón(Rome 1960), Fernando Aguilar (Tokyo 1964), Ramón Cid (Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980; Cid notably claimed the runners-up spot in the 1973 European Athletics Junior Championships in Duisburg), Juan José Prado(Seoul 1988), Mikel Odriozola (Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008 and London 2012; Odriozola has participated in seven World Championships, four European Championships and twice finished fourth in the 50km walk race at the World Cup).

Throughout its history, the club's athletics team has also boasted around 30 international athletes in different age groups and over 30 senior Spanish champions. The La Real team currently features the following athletes who have, or continue to, represent Spain at both junior and senior levels: Iban Maiza, Igor Legarda, Iñigo Uribarren, David Lorenzo, Orkatz Beitia, Itoitz Rodríguez, Iñigo Rodríguez, Rafael Baraza and Ricardo Rosado.

Major achievements

As well as being one of the most historic club's in Spain, several of the Basque Country's leading athletes have competed for the Txuri-urdin, with many of them achieving regional, autonomous community and national records and taking their places at Olympic Games and European and World Championships. The following seven athletes have flown the La Real flag at the Olympic Games: Diego Ordóñez, Félix Mendizabal, José Luis Falcón, Fernando Aguilar, Ramón Cid, Juan José Prado andMikel Odriozola.

The 1917 Spanish Championships, which were staged at Atotxa, featured several of the club's athletes. José Luis Elosegui excelled in this competition and clinched the national high jump record. Amongst the major feats recorded by the club's athletes during these early years is the qualification achieved by Félix Mendizabal and Diego Ordoñez for the 1924 Paris Olympics. What's more, the duo, along with the aforementioned Elosegui and Roberto Ordóñez , made up the 4x100m relay team that set a new national record.

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The maiden Spanish Club Championships were held in 1934, with the Txuri-urdin sealing a ninth-place finish at this competition. Since then, La Real has always competed in the top tier, whilst the team's crowning moment came in 1967 with the Spanish Championship title in Valladolid, in which the team beat off competition from Unión Deportiva Salamanca and FC Barcelona. That triumph represents the club's only national title, with the team having finished as runners-up and in third place on many occasions. Amongst the teams within the Basque Country, La Real are the most decorated club.

In the 1970/71 campaign, the club's Juvenil team finished as runners-up at the Spanish Championships. The team boasts a strong record of success in field events, with leading names in their disiplines like Fernando Aguilar and Arantxa Vega, who was the first woman to be crowned a Spanish champion, in the club's ranks.

Women's athletics

Throughout its history, Real Sociedad's athletics team has always boasted a healthy number of female representatives, with many of the club's ladies registering excellent results. The club's women have made their presence felt in three different phases of the team's history.

The first of these stages was between the 1960s and 70s. It was in 1963 that the first female athlete competed for the Txuri-urdin, when Alicia Gómezrepresented the club on 3 August. During the course of that season, a total of 13 female athletes competed for the club, three of whom took their places at the Spanish Championships in Montjuïc. During this first phase (1963-1977) the club's most decorated female athlete was Arantxa Vega. As well as being the maiden national cross country champion, Vega was the first women to win the 500m at the Spanish Indoor Championships, with this particular event featuring at championships held in those days. In that same year (1965), Vega also broke the Spanish 800m record, with a time of 2:21.4. During this first stage, Vega and another four athletes (María Lezáun, Ivonne Bertrand, Eli Apalategui and Mariví Tarantino) secured all of the 10 medals that La Real's women's team have lifted in Outdoor Spanish Championships to date.

The second phase was shorter and saw eight women feature in the team's ranks. This period began in 1989 and came to an end in 1992. During this time,Ainhoa Palacios and Lorea Anabitarte became the team's standout performers. Finally, in 2015, and a result of the revamped Athletics School, several girls have started to compete for the club. Given that La Real's new Athletics School is open to all boys and girls, the expectation is that the number of the club's female athletes will continue to rise.

Learn and have some fun with the Athletics School!

Fun, life values and a lot of sport. La Real's Athletics School continues to grow year on year. If you want to take part in athletics and have a good time, sign up and learn from our experienced, qualified supervisors and coaches. The Athletics School is divided up into four different age groups (benjamín, alevín, infantil and cadete-juvenil), which cater for the key stages of motor development, growth and maturity. The training sessions are held in the afternoons at the Anoeta Miniestadio. If you wish to sign up or to request further information, please get in touch by writing to [email protected]. Make the most of this opportunity!