× Ritorna la 49^ edizione della 100km del Passatore - 25-26 maggio 2024
A LONG DREAM 100 KM - 100 KM del Passatore | Firenze - Faenza



A dream has finally come true: after the bad disappointment of last year (withdrawn in Marradi due to severe knee pain) and after 38 years since the first edition of the Passatore passed in front of my eyes as a child, I finally cut the finish line in Piazza del Popolo in Faenza.

I write only now after the pain has finally passed, but not the memory of what has been the best race of my life.

After six months of preparation started with a training session on the snow that fell before Christmas, passed through the Ferrara Marathon, the 50km of Romagna and all the rain that fell this winter, I finally lined up at the start in Via dei Calzaiuoli. At the bibs pick up I find Lucio, veteran of this company, Carli Raffaele and his friend and let’s start with some photos. I head towards the street and meet the King of the Passatore, Giorgio Calcaterra, already met at the 50km of Romagna, who kindly gets photographed with me.

The sensations are not good, last year I felt much better, today my legs are not light and I feel strangely heavy. Suddenly I realize that I have not worn the chip, I have to unfasten a shoe and insert it between the strings and we are about to leave; also I can’t tie the other shoe so it doesn’t bother; the beginning is not the best. I say goodbye to my team of assistants (dad, mom and Sara) and off we go. The sun makes itself felt, but there is little humidity and this is a good sign.

After a few kilometers the climb begins towards the square of Fiesole and the group begins to shell out; in the distance I see a Fiorino shirt that I progressively flank and overtake. Slowly the sensations improve and when I get to Vetta le Croci (a real Maracana with a lot of audience) I find the encouragement of my teammates and Massimo the greengrocer.

After the refueling, the descent begins, where I find Vito following the motorbike race and progressively overtaking numerous competitors; I pass Lucio (who always starts very strongly) towards the 22nd kilometer) and I start towards the 30th kilometer, where I meet Fulvio (who more cleverly than me goes by motorbike and not on foot).

At the Borgo San Lorenzo bridge I eat a bar; now I feel quite well, the fatigue is not felt in the slightest despite some strong gust of north wind.

After the refueling the fun begins: just outside the center of Borgo the climb begins, initially quite steep but above all very long, there are 17km at the pass and you must not be discouraged and be careful not to have too fast a pace. Now the kilometers run very slowly and after Ronta it also starts to get cold. I put on my shirt in Madonna dei Tre Fiumi (much earlier than last year) and venture towards the steepest part of the climb; at the marathon sign, as if by a miracle, Alessandro Baldi and his family materialized and came to cheer. I continue the climb regularly and arrive in Razzuolo; the steeper section is over, but we’re not even halfway through the race. Now the climb is less steep and I approach the pass quietly, even if I was a little worried about getting over the hill because last year my knee pain began at Passo della Colla; this time, however, everything is fine, now the kilometers run faster, the only thing that worries me is a feeling of heaviness in the stomach (it is clear that I have not digested the bar well) but I continue calmly despite a sudden sensation of cold. I arrive in Casaglia, by now I have passed half the race and the whole climb, but the steepest part of the descent begins; I get over a hint of cramps and finally I see the Marradi sign; I feel at home and begin to proceed more quickly and calmly. When I replenish Barberry, I fill up on sugar cubes, I no longer want to eat something solid; unfortunately I cannot stop at the piadine kiosk, but I will do it on my return.

Now some short stretches of counter slope begin, the first at the old Fantino station, but I overcome them quite well. So I approach Biforco, at 63 ° km, pass next to my old football pitch of which I still have a mark on my knee and suddenly greet a spectator who, incredulously, sees his childhood companion. Now there are about 2km of plain and as if by magic some small muscle aches go away. In the square in Marradi I see the stopwatch and find that I am 15 minutes earlier than last year; that’s why my Marradi fans are all having dinner and I can’t say goodbye. The most difficult stretch begins; at 70 ° km the sun disappears, it is completely dark and an irreversible crisis can begin at any moment. I continue with great caution, in the dark I cannot understand well at what pace I am going and evaluate the slope of the road well, but I have no feelings of tiredness nor the slightest heaviness in the legs; only regret not being able to see the clock and not knowing exactly which kilometer they are.

I pass San Cassiano quietly and arrive in Brisighella, always guided by the lights of my father’s car; there is a small detour towards the center of Brisighella and those 200 meters uphill suddenly make you understand that you have been in the race for almost 90 km; fortunately immediately afterwards there is a stretch of descent that leads to the exit of the village and the sign -10km upon arrival is now done by magic, just be careful not to overdo it.

Now the road is on the plain, the missing kilometers are all marked and there are only minimal slopes, but I feel better with every kilometer that passes, the finish is approaching. At some point they make us leave the state road and enter a long illuminated avenue; Sara got out of the car and accompanies me in these last kilometers. I do not feel the slightest effort, it is missing less and less, it is now done. After the last kilometer sign you enter the historic center of Faenza, I still don’t believe it can be true; I pass the mother who is carrying my bag to the finish line and I see in the distance the father who is now also running to take a picture of me at the finish line; I gave up on the final sprint (right after 99 km of the race) to pick up the couple that precedes me. Since 1973 I dreamed of this moment, I don’t understand anything when I see the finish line illuminated in the square; the instinct is to jump immediately after the finish, but the legs no longer allow it. It is an indescribable feeling, after so many kilometers traveled, to have reached a long-awaited goal and with an absolutely unexpected time.

Now it remains to return the chip, even collect the prize and conclude my career as a centista with a souvenir photo (or better a picture of a saint) together with Calcaterra, who just told me that he won this year again with the new record of the race; it means that next year I will win (there is time for the record).

Upon returning home, many people telephoned and sent me text messages and I received a lot of compliments (also at school from my student pupil), also from Ennio who has always been generous with criticisms of my training methodologies and in general on everything related to long distance races. At Parco del Neto I have become a kind of celebrity, everyone wants to know details about running and training methods; after finishing my career as a centrist, I can safely begin my career as a trainer.

I conclude this article of mine in the hope of having expressed all my satisfaction for the achievement and gratitude to all the people who helped me during the preparation and encouraged me along the way. In particular Fulvio and Marco Baccianti (training companions in the longest sessions), Luigi Felicetti for his training schedule, his mother for his technical help (otherwise I could not re-insert the elastic in the shorts), the father for the logistic service and the photographic one (visible on Facebook) as well as organizational (he was the one who organized the first editions of the Passatore) and finally Sara, who crossed the finish line with me made that moment even more unforgettable.

Francesco Rosai

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