Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010 Verdi Marathon: more than 2100 participants

According to "la Gazzetta di Parma", there were more than 2100 participants to the Verdi Marathon, departing this morning in Salsomaggiore, Parma, Viale Matteotti. It is now the 13th edition and along with the marathon there are 4 additional events, 5km, 10km and 21.097km. All races will be open by Orzinuovi riflemen, who will run some routes alongside the athletes and perform songs from Verdi's Aida and Nabucco.

All events are dedicated to the Giuseppe Verdi, who was one of the most influential composer in the 19th century and was born in 1813 in Busseto, a village close to the arrival of the marathon. The marathon is characterized for its elevation loss (from 500ft to 100 ft), mainly in the first half of the marathon, where the runners are confronted with a long descent till the arrival in Busseto.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Trieste 2010 Bavisela marathon: toward the highest number of enrollments?

Yesterday the Trieste marathon organizers have published the first data on 2010 marathon enrollments. Pretty interesting to notice that there will be a group of runners coming directly from Tokyo to run the 2010 Bavisela 11th edition, which will take place on the 2nd of May 2010.
So far, between the European Marathon, the two castles half marathon there are already 500 enrollments, 25% of which coming from Italy, followed by Slovenians, Austrians, Germans and many other countries. The total numbers of represented countries are 22, but the expectation is that this number will grow further in coming months, as the statisticians suggest that the number of enrollments increases exponentially the last few days preceding the event.
"Among the most interesting data for the 2010 edition, we have already recorded the entries of a group of about thirty people from the Belgium Royal Marines and as many runners arriving from Tokyo. All have experienced the event thanks to our marketing campaign during other events - says the president of Bavisela Enrico Benedetti. "Enrollment have been have recorded from the United States and throughout Europe, both from Austria and Germany and even France, Spain and many countries of Northern Europe."

The extensive promotional campaigns that Bavisela have started few years ago have encouraged a large percentage of enrollment from outside Italy. Until now the Trieste marathon has been advertized worldwide in other marathons, through brochures and personal staff, have touched around the world. More than 200 thousand people have been contacted directly, in Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovenia, United States, France, Japan and beyond. Before the big event in May 2nd, the Trieste Marathon organized will be part of additional events abroad, expecting to reach addditional 90 thousand contacts.

Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 Rome Marathon news: record of enrollment?

The 16th edition of the Rome Marathon will take place on the 21st of March 2010. It will be a part of a group of events that will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1960 Rome Olympics. The Rome Marathon will be dedicated to Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian who won gold at the Olympics games in Rome in 1960, running barefoot. Bikila then regained in Tokyo 1964 and therefore the Rome marathon decided, since August last year, to twin with Tokio Marathon.

More than a month before the event, the organizers have communicated that the number of foreign runners will be the highest ever. In 2007, the number of foreign participation was 6109 and last year 5993. To date 6136 members are already enrolled from abroad. It is most likely that more than 7 thousand foreigners will participate to this great event. In total, already 12,148 are currently enrolled.

Details on the Rome Marathon live experience are in the link above, where you can find information from other runners.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Verona Marathon become the 8th largest in Italy

After this week-end run the Romeo and Giulietta Verona Marathon became eighth in the Italian Ranking, with 1662 athletes completing the 26.2 miles concluding in Piazza Bra. If we consider also the half marathon, more than 5200 people were able to reach the arrival.
It seems that the charm to run in such beautiful city has increased dramatically recently. The Verona organizers have done a great job in promoting an event that is become a classical in Italy. Congratulations!

2008 Lake Garda Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the September 2008 Lake Garda Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original Lake Garda Marathon live experience.

Lake Garda Marathon is a brand new one and it is growing fast thanks to the presence of foreign runners coming from several countries across the world and to its good calendar at the end of September. It is in the top 10 of the Italian ranking (number 9).

Now the mixed feeling is over: I have both got my new Personal Best at Garda Lake Marathon, but not my suggested target. I was fine, I was in great shape and fit, although maybe not as 2 weeks ago. However, 11 seconds more per km seems too much, but maybe it was the wrong day or the "the crisis of the sixth marathon."

Let’s start with technical comments.

What to say about the pre-race? Wonderful, meeting people with whom we spoke only in front of a keyboard is always exciting, apart Drug, others I had never seen, Fatdaddy with him I shared the journey by ferry to Malcesine, a great character with the spirit of a twenty. Chiara: she is super woman, she did the “Passatore”, the 100km of the Sahara and now in her 27th marathon. When Drugo asked her a forecast on her timing, she says, "Well I go quiet for a 3:30". She will make her Personal Best in 3:19" eleventh overall among the lady. She is coming from another planet, as it is with Jack. We said ... "a professional ... with the patches to match well" He finished in 3:07 ... It is a shame that we did not have time for a nice chat but it will be for the next one!

The hour before the race flies rapidly. I warmed up with Drugo, I turn on my Garmin and a weak shot indicates that it is time to run, just the time to say good luck to Drugo. Since the first few meters I am very concentrated, the first Km in 5:15 ... sorry I do but I have to overtake more or less 400 people. The street is pretty narrow, at departure I was pretty behind. However, that is ok: I have 41 km to recover. The 2nd km was at 4:46, 3rd 4:27, and then I slow down a bit at about 4:45, until the 9th km, which is close to Riva del Garda. I completed the first 10km in 47:53. After all I was in line with my plan. At the refreshment I drank half gel with a glass of water.

The road which first crosses the populous and beautiful center of Riva, for 2 km goes toward the wonderful park closed to the lake and then turn left toward Arco.
It thus leaves the lake and the landscape changes, it runs on a very wide valley surrounded by beautiful peaks, at 14 kilometers I overtake the 3:30 pacers, who told me "go ahead, anyway we will see at the thirtieth km." I reach the 15 km mark in 1:11:20: everything seems pretty quiet and smooth. The road that was formerly straight is now with sharp curves and slips through the vineyards toward the center of Arco. Everything is wonderful, the wind is gone and I arrive at the half in 1:40:10, with 4min44sec /km, I drink the other part of the gel, I feel good, I say there is less than half. At the same time I notice an odd pinch coming from the right foot. It does not matter: I close the next 5 km close them at 4:46 average. Meanwhile, we left Arco with its fortress and warm people. We plunged into the green with a little boring bicycle path along the Sarca River which takes us back to the lake.  I start feeling the fatigue, but at least the wind is not blowing against us and, indeed, arrived in Torbole, for about 500m we have the pleasure to get it behind us. I eat half energy bar, I say to a runner next to me "Finally, a bit in favor of wind." I'm sorry I don't speak Italian" I look at him and tell him ... "The wind is behind us now."  I wonder if he understands, not even time to get used to and there was again wind on our face.

He must have thought: "great Italian, he brought bad luck." I reach the 30Km mark in 2:23:10 and the average total increases to 4:46 / km. I lost clearly my freshness.
Pleasant thoughts creep into my mind enough to get to think:  another 12km of race. This was a typical example of a thought at the wrong time. Kilometers taking me to 35th are real ordeal, I seem to run with a guy that pulls my top and tells me "come on, go and walk, this helps resting your legs, stop by."

I remember advice I gave to Drugo and Fatdaddy "if your legs hurt you ... it is not your problem, it is their problem," I do not know if I have time to finish the thought, the fact is that I find myself beside the table at the refreshement area at km 35th. Then: I walk only.

On the 39th km I see my father as always telling me "come on, it is almost over" Poor man, I tell him all the time" "I don't have any energy anymore."
I run side by side with a runner I met few minutes ago, I want to stick close to him till the end. This is the only solution. We arrive at the 40th km mark, 25 minutes and 38 seconds in 5 km. If I think I did the 36th at 5:26, I'm sure if I was dead this is the first resurrection!

I have recovered well; even my legs and my head are back among us. I begin to act as cicerone to my traveling companion, describing exactly the duration and intensity of the 2 climbs that separate us from the beginning of the descent. He looks at me puzzled but I told him: "It's downhill all the way." Just before the 41 km mark I find my wife and my mother to whom I gave a beautiful smile. The climb is over, I can increase a bit the pace and I am wondering where is Gianluca. 300m ahead of me I see Helga, Gianluca’s wife. Then 10m further I recognized the legendary photographer Gianluca.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2009 Venice Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the October 2009 Venice Marathon, the third biggest Marathon in the Italian ranking. It gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original  posting on the Venice Marathon live experience.

Venice Marathon logo

Let me start with the end. 3H 24 min and 7 second was the time it took me to complete the 2009 Venice Marathon as well as my new personal best (PB) score. Until two weeks ago I aimed to complete the race with a time of about ten minutes less than what I have achieved, but after muscle problem this week, today the result pleased me greatly.

On Wednesday I was virtually certain that I would not be able to take off the race. In the following days things have improved but, until the last, I was not sure I could run without retiring. But then it was great, unforgettable day!

This is the narrative of this great day.
6 o'clock the alarm, I get up a little sleepy. Despite the fear and tension I slept pretty well. Breakfast with tea, biscuits, honey, toast and jam more, because I am tired of sweet things, I eat even a slice of ham with toast. After finishing breakfast, my friend Dario came along and he took me to the departure point in Stra (again thanks for the support, I own you something). In the car we agree on the point where I expected to see them on the arrival: on the left side. I tell him it is fine, I hope to get to the end and I ask them to wait for me till a certain time. If I do not arrive within the 5 hours, then they can go home, not a big deal.

Venice Marathon departure - Stra, Villa PisaniOnce in Stra (Venice's marathon departure, see picture on the left), I head to the bottom of the square, finding the Blogpoint site. Immediately I have identified Pasteo and his unmistakable hair. At that stage we are only the two of us. We were waiting for Bress arriving few minutes thereafter with Tosto and the commander. Simone and Anita arrived from the bar and the blogpoint is complete. A small espresso at the bar, we have taken a picture with the bottles that Pasteo has given to the Bress and we then go in the direction of departure.
After giving my bag, I started my stretching and warming to put the muscles in good condition. The day is wonderful, the atmosphere is electric before the marathon but the good company of Bress and Tosto immediately helps to defuse the tension. In short we enter into the cages, we make the road between people and we arrive at a point not too far from the start. We found Pasteo: we're back together.

Venice Marathon Brenta riverThe pending departure is unnerving. First the hand-bikes started, then the top female runners, finally, with a little delay, also our race. I cross the starting line just 1 minute after the official start. Ahead of me there are Bress and Tosto. I follow them for a first stretch and then let them go and I sit next to the pacers of 3H and 30. I follow the blue balloons for a while then I feel that my legs are in good shape and increase the pace. Certainly do not want to overdo it but since my legs are going, I follow them.
The route along the Brenta (see right) is wonderful.

People on the board of the road is impressive and very warm. After a few km we pass near the first of many musical groups encountered along the route. As I pass by, the group is playing "Rosanna" from Toto, a song that I particularly like because it has a great battery play. Let's go - I say - is a clear signal.
The same signal is strengthened a little later when we find another band playing Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. A third band performs in Song 2 by Blur. I had to put them in a hypothetical Ipod, I am not sure I would have done better. Music, people, and the atmosphere look like a great show.

5km later, around the 12th, my euphoria passes abruptly. I began feeling some problems in my legs. In particular, I feel my right leg a bit contract. I worry immediately, I try to run a little loose and slow down the pace. I have to keep hard, I have to hold on - I keep repeating myself, I am a little scared because I did not think problems could occur so soon. I see the shadow of the approaching retirement but, wisely, I slow down the pace and go with more calm. I think of Alvin and his advice, I put myself in ways procession of the Virgin of Sorrows. I force myself to go slowly at least until the 30th km. So during the race I start to be overtaken by a lot of people, including a runner encountered in various non-competitive year. Passing the half marathon in 1h 42 and 01, I'm progressing at a leisurely pace (around 4'55 / km) and I feel that the forces do not abandon me. The only concern is given from my legs but now I got half way, the fool hypothesis goes away and I begin to feel more comfortable.

Little further I found Albertozan, who is working today as a pacer for some of his teammates. I see him and joke with him: "Come on, take me to the finish." He told me that other people have to wait and ask me how it goes. I tell him that things are going, at that time was very good, and that if the legs are not stopping, I will arrive in Venice. We run one km together, then he stops to wait for his other friends. We are near Marghera, road-side I see a group of people with a banner, their factory has closed and they are now unemployed. Look at them and whispered a "Come on boys." They could hear me and thank me providing reciprocal incitement.
It was a beautiful moment that I am still keeping in my brain today.

Few miles before km 30th, we enter San Giuliano park (picture, right), by crossing the bridge. The wood of the deck beneath runners feet is "dancing" and is quite funny to run in such conditions. Running in the park is beautiful but the effort is beginning to be felt. Besides the expected path of detours within the curves and counter curves, in short they always seem to end but never ends. And once out of the park is the most feared section: the Liberty Bridge.

The bridge itself begins at km 34. For 4 km I can see a wide straight and monotonous road with Venice in the background. Pasteo called it, not without reason, a treadmill. You can run, run, but you don't have the impression to get ahead because Venice is still there and you never reach it! I was looking forward to the bridge since the beginning of the marathon and I have arrived there in force and full of enthusiasm. At this stage the withdrawal hypothesis is gone completely, plus I feel good and I can even accelerate. I am elated and I have little chats with everyone. After a while, in front of me a yellow t-shirt is popping up: that is Tosto. I increase the pace a little bit and I am reaching him. We had a quick conversation and he told me that he simply reduced significantly his speed at the 30th km. I feel sorry for him but I'm too good at the moment, bursting with energy and I want to use them all. I look forward and another yellow t-shirt appears. Is it for Bress? I am greeting Tosto and try to speed up, briefly overtaking the runner. Unfortunately I did not see Bress, but another “lightning friend” which I do not know the name. Besides him, I also found Angelo, greeted him and left him (not without satisfaction to be gone again).
I am approached by a runner to whom I had spoken shortly before. He says "Are you sure that you come before me as you said just now?" I look at him and tell him "Of course I come before you." "Well, then go ahead and follow me." The guy starts to increase the speed at the pace of 4'30. I follow him for a while. I do not lack energy but I am not too convinced that I can keep the pace till the end. My legs could leave me alone without notice. Towards the end of the bridge, a beginning of cramp shows up at left quadriceps. I let go the runner and slow down trying to break my leg. The operation succeeds and finds coolness.

Venice Marathon coming to VeniceNow that the bridge is finished, we are inside Venice and missing only 4 km. The legs are pretty good and I could increase the speed but I got scared by the principle of cramp. I have realized that the timing is more than good, and therefore I will finish below 3 hours 30 minutes, so I don’t want to run any risk.
The final part of the Venice marathon is wonderful, you run in a unique environment. Bridges are only small obstacles now. Indeed, the wooden walkways and my feet almost bouncing softly on it are pleasing me. I'm still good and it's nice to do a countdown of the 14 final bridges! Two kilometers till the end my cramp is again threatening to turn up. I still try to reduce the speed, but this time it's hard. Onward with clenched teeth, I can see the bridge of boats: there you go!

I cross the Grand Canal and I am pushing hard. The descent of the bridge allows me to dissolve the principle of cramp and the last section is an apotheosis. I will be finishing greatly! With my eyes looking for my friends who are waiting for me on the left side, I pass several bridges but I do not see them. For a moment I'm afraid of losing it and instead, a bridge from the end, they were waiting for me, call me, cheer me on.

Venice Marathon arrivalMy level of adrenaline increased dreadfully, I jumped on the bridge from where I'm coming down (as shown in photo) and gather gladly incitements. The adrenaline gives me great energy and also anger. I accelerate, I am flying in the last bridge, and I am ready for the final sprint. I crossed the line more angry than ever. I can look at the official timekeeper, I see 3 hours and 25 minutes. I am delighted and I know that I was under that performance. Great job!

Upon arrival, I find mr. Bress. I ask him about his performance, we congratulate and hug each other. I am in high spirits because of the result. I look forward to the medal and wait for friends who came to see me today. Find them and exchange a few words. It is really nice to have lived a day like this with the people with whom understand the feeling. I thank them publicly here too, especially the two Dario who provided transportation, patience, support and photo shoot! Great!

As agreed with the other bloggers we are in the tree-lined street where we took some pictures (of exquisite workmanship given the quality of subjects). I wait for for some more to see if they get someone else but to be honest, I am quite anxious to return home, mainly because of the condition of my feet (toes with several blisters and toe nails in shameful conditions) that hurt me most of the muscles legs.
I greet mr. Bress and Tosto and head for the boat that will take me to the train station. That concludes this great day. Now I have a new PB for celebration and a new target in front, that is great! I have to thank a lot of people for advice, support or even just for having been there. And then, I must thank the physiotherapist during the week I'm going to give him a statue.

Monday, February 1, 2010

2009 Rome Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the March 2009 Rome Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find an Italian translation from the original posting on the Rome Marathon live experience. The next 2010 Rome Marathon is scheduled on the 21st of March 2010 and will be an unforgettable event.

In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen ... whenever he was at leisure (which was mostly all the year round) gave himself up to reading books of chivalry with such ardor and avidity that he almost entirely neglected the pursuit of his field-sports, and even the management of his property." In this way it begins the adventure of Don Quixote, who harnessed his armor, has taken the road that would lead him to fight many battles to win his Dulcinea.


Sunday we weds Don Quixote along with many Sancho Panza we weren't in La Mancha but in Via dei Fori Imperiali (right). We were also wearing top and shorts eager to conquer our Dulcinea
equally wary asking us to fight tough battles before giving her hand; our beloved today is called the Rome Marathon.
I was supposed to be the 3-hours pace-maker, but finally the organization wanted to move me to 3'15'': my reply was dry and immediate. No, for a while I want to fight for achieving the goal of 3 hours before going to the next step.

Free then to leave my legs to seek their own pace, the pace I can take without suffering too much in the first part and that allows me to look around.There is a problem in Rome, it would be nice to look around and what you could see would surely be admired but the ground is uneven, uncertain and supporting my ankles (with tendons attached) deserve consideration, the hocks of my horse should be treated with care and preserved. So much of the race I had to spend like the others to pick up precious energies on checking cobblestones, Sanpietrini (right picture).
The pending departure has been long and lived together with my friends Renato Ventura, Stephen and Michael, the main comment was related to the wind that could have influenced our performance, luckily a bright sun was there to accompany us until the 26 miles. Aeolus is lazy but always blows contrast, if all goes well you can find one side and on the stretches where it should be for (if physics is not an opinion) comes Murphy's Law, that portion will be covered and thus you do not enjoy all of the 'beneficial effect'.
The music at departure with the soundtrack of Chariots of Fire has served to raise the level of adrenaline, and then the shot: the battle is getting started. A river of people, anxious to free energies legs, elbows are wide gaps where looking strung, smiles, wishes, fears, superstitious gestures. That the marathon start (left picture, 2009 departure).

RomePiazza Venezia and the Altar of the Fatherland on our left (right on the picture), we will review it and now must find the right pace, in front of me I saw two meshes with the Moors Sardinian is Pierpaolo Stefanopoli, a greeting and then both after the same goal, under three hours. The Circus Maximus, the Pyramid and the way to the Basilica of San Paolo where the 5 km mark, the average marks is 4'08 min/km, not a pace that I was looking for, my legs are going alone, therefore the pace is obviously the right one, I just press the split button without even check it every km. We come back along the Tiber for a long stretch on one side first then, after crossing a bridge, on the other side, a new bridge and we head towards "Er Dome, the avenue that offers a view of St. Peter's Basilica is fascinating to follow.
At my side almost from the start there are two friends Venetian, Titian Treviso Camignada I knew the last year and an affiliated “Aggredire” company of which I, forgetful, I forgot the name. We exchange a few words, at times struggled to keep their pace but we are always there. Every so often a look at the Garmin: the indication is fixed on the same pace, the legs are going with AUTOPILOT: 4'08” min/km. Passing the half in 1:27 '19'', I thought immediately: this is about the same time, the second of my move to Barcelona three weeks ago, but today I am sure that time will be difficult to repeat, my legs are starting to acknowledge the fatigue and then the wind does not give us respite.
We are in the area of the Foro Italico, it is time to pull together: When you are in trouble the best defense is to attack. The Don Quixote within me greets friends, borrow Durlindana from Orlando and then decided to fight before falling to the Roncesvalles will conquer my Dulcinea. We should attack the windmills (anyway wind is not missing!) I then started a good progression helped also by the slight descent, passes alongside the mosque. In a temporary state of grace, I overtake a lot of competitors and gained positions with regularity. At 30 km mark my average is not moving from 4'08 min/km, my tired legs yet are not to give up.

The intermediate at 35Km told me I have even increased my pace by few seconds. I could then see downtown Rome in front of me at 36 km, and I got overtaken by Sancho Panza, attempting to escape. A squire never gives up his head in time of need. He is not Sancho, he is a runner dressed as a warrior who I had passed in the early miles, sword in hand running light, I try to keep up but my legs suffer from fatigue. Between Via del Corso and Piazza del Popolo gather encouragement from so many viewers, my name engraved on the tank top is scanned in a variety of languages: "Courage, Antonio" screams one Spanish, "Go, Tony, go" one lovely American and I have also heard some "and Annam Anto" clearly from the city. Now we were at the end, there are only "four dirty km", I was in Piazza di Spagna, another massive crowd and several encouragements, I have not the strength to turn my face
to the left to see the steps, the Trevi Fountain deserves much more than the my indifference. I appeal to the usual strategies to consume the last km: I am just missing to the finish two poor rounds of the park where I always train.
I see the Altar of the Nation, homage and respect, but the Colosseum is now my goal. Do the maths, the result is already marked, I will finish in 2h:55min if my heart and head helped for the absence of legs in the last 2 km.

RomeUsing the remaining energy, the cobblestones of Via San Gregorio is the ultimate punishment, but the Arch of Constantine is the goal. On the curve upward along the Colosseum, the public is crowded, greeting and thank you for your encouragement, where the descent suddenly fell silent, the barriers prevent the presence of supporters. There before me the banner of the goal on either side the desert, this is my sad arrival. There is not even to throw the challenge to the stopwatch, delaying arrival at 2:55 '21''; the medal around his neck is a very well deserved award today. Don Quixote did for Dulcinea's 153th time under 3 hours.

The wait is now for the other "friends of fortune". Stephen concludes in 3:03 still deferring his appointment with the demolition of the wall, Renato at 3:23, 3:45 Michele. After the finish line alive one of the less positive of this event: the return of bags and a torment for many, change needs to find a corner on the asphalt and lucky that it is sunny. From this point of view of Rome is very far from New York, and light years from Berlin, Dublin, Barcelona. It would be impossible to name all the friends among over 11000 that crossed the line: the Mercurys of Vittorio Veneto, Anna marathon runner (PB in 3:05) Andrea Marchiol too PB, Pagavino spouses, those in the NiĆ¹ Team, and then certainly a thought to the people of the disappointed, those who expected so much and have collected less or those who for one reason or another were unable to cross the finish line.
Next year I will not come because the Sanpietrini deserve a longer digestion time. However on Sunday next week I will be at the Treviso Marathon Treviso for a new challenge: guess what will be my goal?


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