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THE 100KM - 100 KM del Passatore | Firenze - Faenza



Saturday 28 May 2005 6.00 am, Sergio and I leave for Florence.

We are too early, we know it, but we have been waiting for this day for many months and we can’t wait for this adventure to begin, therefore, after having loaded the bicycle and the sports bag with everything we need, we leave at a time from Florence.

Fortunately, the preparation for this “undertaking” went smoothly, without pain, without injuries and with great determination.

The training table was made by my son Stefano, on his first experience as a Master’s trainer, making the most of what he is studying in university where he attends the degree course in Sports and Sports Sciences.

I am confident, so far everything has gone well, I aim “only” to finish the race and to prove to myself that I am not the last “tapasciona” of the group; Around me I see growing interest in what I’m doing and I don’t want to disappoint the many friends who support me.

And then I want to confirm to Stefano that his work is precious and that he is on the right track while my husband is more excited than me, so much so that in the days leading up to the race he has connected dozens of times to the official website of the race to “spy on” his opponents , count them, divide them by category, check the times they had done in past editions, compare them with the times they made in marathons.

Paolo Fastigari is also enrolled in the same race as he tries to beat his personal record of the previous year which was already an excellent 10.14.55 Paolo, followed by two friends, “Gigi” and “Stefano”, will leave in about an hour; He is now a veteran of this race and manages to feel more relaxed and relaxed while Sergio and I are afraid that any small hindrance (highway queue, punctured rubber, etc.) will make the company fail and therefore we decide to leave (very early.

Combined with the 100 km there is also a race called “Triptych of ceramics” whose final ranking is made by adding up the times made in 3 different races, the first race is this 100 Km, the second is the half of Faenza while the third race it is the marathon of Florence, and it is precisely seeing the times of last year made by my opponents that Sergio convinced me to subscribe to the triptych. Seeing the values ​​on the field and comparing them with the times I have on the half (1.47.38) and on the marathon (3.48.20), it is thought that it can classify me around the 7th / 8th place, the unknown is the 100 Km. I’m a little crazy … everyone tells me and not to disappoint them I will be crazy all the way.

So let’s start and mentally I review everything I put in the bag, the race suit is there, the socks are there, spare parts of clothes ok, the shoes are there (I even brought a spare pair) the comp- aid also, there are supplements and also dried figs that I discovered very nutritious and very digestible.

I think back to the months of training with my solo outings (nobody wanted to do so many Km with me), I think back to the efforts of having to train 6/7 times a week, I think back to the sequence of marathons done as training, I think back to the tens of km day, I think that from Monday I will be able to rest a little since in the last seven weeks I have only been stuck for three days.

But I’m happy, my husband and son lately pamper me more than necessary, friends respect me and admire me, and who really knows (Lucio first) appreciates me; We quickly cross the Po Valley, in Bologna we start to climb the Apennines and seeing the mountains I think of the many trips made with a backpack on my shoulder, with children and friends, on the snow or in the scorching sun, short trips of two or three hours , or even 10/12 long, I think back to the crossing of the Pyrenees, to Corsica with those very long stages even 12 hours carrying a 15 kg backpack, to the via ferratas in the Dolomites, and always the desire to go .. go .. go. .

I think of Bobo as a joke one day in 1998, during a trip to the mountains, he proposed to Sergio and I to join the Atletica Nervianese to run the half marathon in Florence; “Are you crazy? It’s 21 km, I will never make it”, said my husband, “certainly” I replied with conviction displacing everyone (even the Bobo). From that moment on we were involved in the adventure (my husband also accepted the challenge) and I remember and thank Enrico for that first training schedule (until then we thought it was enough to just run). In all those months there was not the slightest hitch while Sergio began his series of injuries which has not yet ended; I realized that I was strong more than fast and that the many years of walking in the mountains had contributed to this state of form; I also got to know the various characters that revolve around Nervianese athletics, I already knew Bobo and Enrico, all the others were added who soon became friends with a capital A.

The day of the race in Florence I was nervous as now, 21 km were many, who knows what would have happened and instead everything went well, the city was celebrating, the friends were companions, the race was beautiful, no physical problems .. indeed.

And now we return to Florence; Will this city still bring me luck? I did the maximum possible but 100 km is a lot. I smile thinking of the 21 of a few years ago.

Sergio reminds me that I didn’t have the slightest physical problem the other time I faced the Passatore 100 km, it’s true, I almost forgot that it’s not the first time for me on this distance but then we were young newlyweds ( in 1979) and we did the whole route walking, without ever running and without training on the distance, in spite of this we finished in 19 hours and 48 minutes … that this city really brings good for me?

We are in advance, Sergio calls Gigi who follows us with the other car and we agree to be in a service area in sight of Florence.

The wait is long but pleasant, the sun is already high and hot, I see the Tuscan plain already enveloped by the heat and I think with terror of the great heat it will make in Florence; I can’t stand the heat, I sweat bloody and I find it hard to breathe when the temperature rises even slightly, vice versa in the cold I’m at ease, I think of the snow-white mountains, the glaciers of the many trips made with the CAI, the paths in the shadow of the woods, to the climbs on Monte Rosa even in the midst of the blizzard, but also to the field races of the Monga trophy which is run in the middle of winter on frozen terrains, with tank top and short pants and never, I say never was cold, the heat instead upsets me .

While we wait, Sergio calls the friends of Fusignano announcing the arrival in Faenza of Emilia for the following morning; They had guessed that their “crazy” friend would try the adventure again. Since we are confident that Emilia does not give up and arrives at the end, and from the calculations made it should take 14/15 hours, they ask to know what time they can come to Piazza del Popolo in Faenza to receive their friend in their land. We agree for 5 – 5.30 on the following day.

After more than an hour (I said we were early) Paolo arrives escorted by Gigi and Stefano; It’s party, we seem to be on the first day of holidays, jokes and jokes are wasted, after a few minutes we leave for Florence.

We leave the highway, enter the city, try to get as close as possible to the point of departure and get off the cars in the square of the Santa Maria Novella station; How hot is it in Florence? Are we crazy? Should you run in this heat? After the usual greetings Paolo and I leave Sergio, Gigi and Stefano and, having taken the minimum necessary, with the bag on our shoulders we go to the meeting point. Around us flocks of Japanese tourists smile as they see us go by in shorts and a tank top but, as we get closer, other “athletes” join us and thus enter the “race atmosphere” together with everyone.

In the square the atmosphere is festive, there are those who find their friend / opponent from last year, those who tease and who let themselves be teased, everyone says they are unprepared, all with various ailments, the “I don’t know if this year I finish “is on the agenda, but also” I will definitely retire after you “revives that sense of challenge among old friends, the heat in the meantime increases.

We go to pick up the bibs, look for a place to eat something light but hearty and find a restaurant where we order simple oil pasta and salad.

The adrenaline rises to the maximum when you find yourself in the many arcades in Piazza della Signoria to wait for the time of departure between those who try and try again the lacing of the shoes, those who put the patches on the nipples, those who do not stop spreading cream, those who nervously check the wristwatch and those who nervously play with the necklace in their mouths.

It’s time to start warming up but why warm up? We are already overwhelmed with the sun beating down and the heat that is there, and then, I will have time to warm up on the path starting very slowly; I am reminded of the advice of Vito, another runner friend who in recent years has completed the passer, who advised me to leave slowly, indeed very slowly, indeed more slowly than slowly and I intend to listen to him in the heat what does.

Meanwhile Sergio, Gigi and Stefano have pitted the road that we will make uphill towards Fiesole and stop at km 10 to cool off a bit in the shade of a tree, commenting with anxiety and apprehension mixed with enthusiasm; It is very hot, the climb is demanding and is placed immediately at the start, mah ..; They resume their journey and rise to the top of Le Croci at Km 18 and at 518 meters. high, it is noon, the heat up here is less, there is no heat, but in 5 hours when will the champions pass? To deceive anxiety they decide to enter the nearby restaurant and … among Tuscan crostini, pasta with wild boar sauce, Florentine tagliata, wine (good) and water (little) comment on the adventure that has just begun. But time passes quickly and it is necessary to anticipate the closure of the roads up to Borgo S.Lorenzo scheduled for 2.00 pm, therefore after unloading a bicycle and greeting Gigi who will wait for our people at the top of the pass they head towards km 35 where they will wait the race.

Half an hour to the departure scheduled for 3 pm is missing and the weather is really on fire in Piazza della Signoria in Florence, we are in 1600, we are hot and it is terribly hot in the sun, we are eager to leave and at the same time we are full of doubts; I think back to the months of preparation, the long, the repeated, the very long, and the longest ever made in 6 hours on a radiant and warm May morning, I think of the km covered every week (up to 136) and the two pairs of shoes used alternately, today I decided that I leave with the Asics CAMPUS but Sergio has the Asics ENHANCE in the car for any eventuality.

After a short (very short) warm-up I approach the cages for the departure, Paolo would like me to go with him a little further but I don’t feel like it, my place is here, among the tapascioni, we exchange the last words of encouragement, we say goodbye, I see him go away and I mix with the crowd, I feel myself in the race with the adrenaline skyrocketing.

A few minutes of waiting with the speaker who encourages everyone, presents the best athletes and explains to the many tourists present in the square the “madness” that we are making in 1600. A shot, an ovation from the public and with a thousand hearts we leave; How long and how many times have I waited for this moment? So far everything has gone well, let’s hope … I know that Florence brings me luck.

We start slowly first because of the large number of starters then, after a few hundred meters and after a certain space has formed between us, I take the rhythm that I think will be fine; After about five kilometers done in the city center with a heat and a heat that takes your breath away (the thermometer registers 32 degrees), we leave Florence located 65 meters above sea level and begin the ascent towards Fiesole located at km 10 and at 295 meters altitude and the peak Le Croci (km 18 and 518 m), you need to stay calm, I see people overtaking me at almost double speed but you need to balance your energy well, the race is long and I always think of Vito’s words … ga voeur andà dasi, ansi dasi dasi, ansi pusè anmò by dasi dasi, and with the heat that makes listening willingly because I don’t like running in such conditions.

A positive note comes from the people along the path that constantly incites us and from the owners of the houses along the road who have reeds with water so that you can cool off every now and then because it is really hot while we trudge uphill; After Fiesole the climb decreases in intensity and luckily the road begins to be flanked in some places by large trees and I see that everyone (including me) desperately searches for the shadow on the side of the road.

From the first refreshment I decide to have a drink and something to eat and among the good things on the tables I choose natural water and bananas.

We are approaching 21 km; Once it represented the end of a race but now it represents only the end of the “warm-up” phase, I smile and stay focused while I see Gigi coming towards me on a bicycle, she asks me if everything is fine, she tells me that Paolo has already passed by some time and stays with me up to the top of the summit the crosses after which, once the descent has started, he leaves me and goes to join Paolo, “good luck, see you in Faenza” he shouts while without pedaling he acquires a great speed in the beautiful road in the woods in the direction of Borgo San Lorenzo.

Now we are going downhill but I don’t have to accelerate on the contrary … I have to be careful not to strain so as not to compromise the knees, tendons and ankles but I take my breath away, it’s now 5 o’clock, the road is downhill and partially in the shade thanks to the trees and we are at 500 meters above sea level, in the hills and a little cooler.

In the meantime Sergio and Stefano are stationed in the shade of a beautiful avenue at km 35; they have been waiting for at least 3 hours and, to deceive the wait, with his bicycle Sergio has laboriously explored (there are only uphill roads) the surroundings; Many are waiting for the race and together with dozens of companions there are also the locals who, once a year, do not miss the opportunity to see these “monsters” from abroad also up close. The relay at the start of the race passes, then the judges’ car begins to see the first competitors pass, first some disabled pass on the cyclones, all applauding and inciting these “heroes” who react with great courage to the bad luck that made them then the first runner was incapacitated, slightly detached. He is a Ukrainian and seems to be flying, Radio Corsa announces an advantage of 17 minutes! Crazy, but … either he is a phenomenon or the others are broke or he has miscalculated and started too fast.

Comments are wasted among those present, almost all of them are running lovers and someone also has good times on the marathon so it seems to be in the family and chatting time passes quickly.

After just a quarter of an hour 3 athletes pass, then 1, then 2 others and gradually the others, who are all warmly encouraged, Sergio takes the bicycle and comes to meet Paolo and me but the road is downhill and think about when he will have to do it upside down, uphill and have a bicycle without gearshift; He stops after about a km at the beginning of a steeper descent and waits, a competitor passes and asks him for water, luckily he has a small supply in the bicycle basket and gives him a half-liter bottle, apologizes because it is not fresh but he thanks equally with a bright smile and leaves. Paolo arrives accompanied by Gigi, he is strange, suffering, the pubalgia that forced him to change the last weeks of training is torturing him, he sees him disheartened but Paolo is the usual one used to joking about everything and together with them he starts again in the direction of Stefano waiting near the cars.

“Emilia is fine” says Gigi, “he was coming up without problems at the 20th km”; They believe in it, they know me and they know that at least up to 65 ° I can do it, it is the heat that shatters me but fortunately the sun begins to drop and the temperature also.

Paolo stops a bit, drinks something, and starts again saying “I’ll try .. I’ll see if he goes”; in the meantime Stefano and Gigi exchange the means of transport and Stefano leaves by bicycle (with the gearbox) following Paolo, now also for the cyclist the road is hard as for some km it is going up towards the Gran Premio Della Montagna at 913 mt.

They say goodbye “to Faenza, bye” and Sergio remains alone waiting for me; As the minutes pass, he feels fully involved in the adventure and cannot stay still, he decides to go down to Borgo S.Lorenzo, he thinks of the steep descent that he will have to go uphill with the bicycle without changing but who cares! Being close to her Emy to help her deserves this effort, she descends slowly without losing sight of all the competitors who trudge uphill, there are many now and they run on both sides of the road and for this she must be careful to locate me, it would be a real mess if she left me go by without seeing me, would never find me in the midst of many.

It goes down to Borgo and stops at a crossroads at the exit of the historic center, there are many policemen around who try to calm motorists who find the road blocked by competitors; Now there are really many, a continuous and colorful snake that, leaving the country, trudges on the first ascent, sees tense and concentrated faces, we are at km 33 and the race begins now, with the terrible climb to climb over the Apennines.

Km 33, it is usually the turning point of the marathon, those who arrived without having given up the reserves, try to keep the last 10, those who exaggerated … collapses before the end; Wait a while and see me coming (in fact, it’s me who sees it first), “hello, how’s it going?” he asks me and I “well, but how hot!” he asks me if I have had problems and from my answers in monosyllables “no”, “yes”, he understands that I am the usual Emy who does not want to be disturbed in the race to stay focused and goes by bicycle as we begin the climb.

As he descended towards Borgo he had seen that near some farmhouses along the road the owners of the same ones had put the canes with water to be able to wash and refresh, needless to say that now, uphill, all (but really all) since he gasps from the heat they take advantage of the situation and bless that breath of coolness; Meanwhile, the road climbs considerably up to km 35 and then climbs more gently up to 40. I proceed calmly while Sergio struggles with the bicycle without changing gear.

We reach the point where he left the car and I stop for a moment to rinse my mouth and eat some dried figs, “do you know that so far I have only eaten bananas?” I say, “they will do well as you go,” he replies as I set off slightly uphill towards Ronta. He lets me go, he takes the car and he too starts slowly and being very attentive to the competitors who are now more dense and travel on both sides of the road, he surpasses me and stops after Ronta at km 41, unloads the bike and goes back ; Find me at the refreshment point of km 40 and guess what I’m eating? Bananas! I drink and set off again for what is by far the most tiring (but also the most beautiful) part of the route, a fairly steep climb through the woods until you reach the Colla pass.

In the meantime Stefano telephones announcing that Paolo has been sick and has decided to stop and we are up to km 42. It is a pity to have to give up after so many months of preparation, I am sorry for Paolo, whom I reach shortly afterwards and who am having a party with Stefano and Gigi. Meanwhile, Gigi, eager to study the route and see the sensations that are felt up close, proposes to change Sergio by following me closely; Sergio agrees much more that having the bike without the gearbox did not plan to make the steep climb up to the Colla pass, we agree to find ourselves at the top, at km 47 and we separate again.

Meanwhile, I continue with my usual step, slightly slower since we are climbing steeply, but very profitable and as the overtaking km of competitors dozens pass, the road is beautiful, in the middle of the woods and next to the stream, the sun it is very low and no longer bothers, but the slope in some places is very strong and you sweat profusely.

Gigi is amazed by what he sees, almost all competitors now walk instead of running, only I with some others (a few) continue with our running pace obviously made slower and heavier by the steep slope, the bends follow each other and the overtaking is not they count more, the climb is long, it seems to never end but at the same time I enjoy overtaking others; I remember that even 27 years ago, even if walking fast, Sergio and I surpassed dozens of competitors, perhaps I have not aged since those times; A few more hairpin bends and we are at the top, finally it goes downhill.

It is evening now, it is no longer hot, also because we are almost 1000 meters away. and it’s time to make a first analysis of what has been done: Looking at the kms, they are almost halfway through the race but the most tiring part has passed, I have already made a total difference in altitude of 1171 meters uphill. (453 from Florence to the Le Croci summit and 718 from Borgo S.Lorenzo to here), from now on there is only descent and plain but … another 50 km is not a joke and I have to stay focused.

At step I find Stefano and Paolo who encourage me and give me a spare shirt to put under the “glorious” tank of the U.S. Nervianese because the temperature is much lower. I go down decidedly and quickly towards the village of Casaglia, it is now almost dark but the road continues and being beautiful as it is in the middle of the woods, I remember the many trips in the mountains and the joy that has always given me the passage in the middle of the shadow of the woods, now it’s not the same but I’m happy the same; In the meantime, Gigi got into the car and Sergio, after leaving his in Casaglia, got back on his bicycle to km 50, I find him and together we go down to the village.

I remember Casaglia well because the other time (in 1979) at the refueling in the center of the village they had offered me a really delicious rice cake, in those days it was fine but now I have to be careful with what I eat and drink; I take a fruit juice and for the first time I try to eat something other than the usual banana, I choose some bread and jam and then I run away.

In the meantime Sergio has started timing the passages every 10 km and sending the times to friends via SMS keeping them awake all night, at KM 50 I pass in 6.28 hours, not bad … I think.

The road is now in complete darkness, the night is moonless and all competitors wear small flashing multicolored lights hanging on their belts or on their arm or ankle; We look like a large Christmas tree that walks, but you have to be careful, I can’t see exactly where I put my feet, and it’s easy to take a retort by putting your foot on a stone or in a small valley of the asphalt.

Fortunately Sergio joins me who, with the bicycle light, also solves this problem. Meanwhile Stefano and Paolo greet me and decide to head towards Faenza while Gigi remains to give Sergio the change every 10/15 km.

Now, thanks to the dark, not seeing anything around anymore, I remain focused only on running, every now and then I review the symptoms that come from the body, feet ok, calves also, back for now without pain, shoulders and neck in place, stomach goes well, just general tiredness and a great desire to eat something salty, I’m tired of eating sweet stuff, I’m almost nauseous.

You get to Marradi at km 65 and after the refueling in the square, which Sergio also took advantage of (refueling “also” from now on also for the companions), the cell phone rings and Sergio who is next to me answers : Antonella is the one who wants to find out in person how things are going since the SMS messages give me well in advance of the forecasts, I feel Sergio telling him the latest news, we are at km 67, everything is fine, and me pass it. I run, I greet her, I answer with monosyllables to her questions and only after she realizes that I am running and she leaves me immediately with a wish.

At km 75 Sergio and Gigi invert the roles, the road is now almost flat and the effort begins to be felt but I keep my concentration, the most tiring thing is having to force myself to eat something at the refreshments, from the start they follow each other regularly every five km but I’m sick of continuing to eat sweet things.

Meanwhile, Sergio remembers the friends of Fusignano with whom he had agreed to meet in Piazza del Popolo in Faenza for 5 / 5.30 am and called them advising them of the strong advance compared to the expected; Adriano is delighted, but still confirms his desire to come on arrival despite the scheduled time between 3.15 and 3.45.

The kms pass, 70, 75, 80, 85, the villages too, S.Adriano, S.Cassiano, Strada Casale, Fognano, I’m almost tired but I realize that the goal is now reachable, I can do it, they are missing now about 12/13 km, the equivalent of a WWF tour, how many I have done in the past of these tours! And how many will I do in the future! With my mind I run to this beautiful track in the woods, in the cool of a winter morning, in the middle of nature, and I realize that it is no longer so cold, even if we are almost at two in the morning now we are very low and practically on the plain , I’m sweating but I don’t want to change in order not to devote myself, we are now at the end … I think.

In the meantime, Sergio continues to time the passages every 10 km and informs me that I am continuing like a Swiss watch taking about 1 hour and 9 – 1 hour and 12 every 10 km, in practice I travel on average at about 7.00 per km, the differences are due to the fact that refueling is sometimes before the mileage sign, sometimes after.

Meanwhile, the lights of Brisighella and km 90 are slowly approaching. While I am at the umpteenth refreshment point (and I don’t know what to choose to put under my teeth anymore) Sergio stops to speak with a manager of the organization who, equipped with a notebook, note the competition number of the competitors for checking; Between a word and the other he learns that no more than 200 competitors have passed and that he does not know how many women have passed but in any case they are very few, perhaps 7 including Emilia.

Allotment and after 100 meters. I meet the sign of the 90 km, courage, it is done now I think, I will definitely arrive, even if something happens to me I will keep hard but I will not stop. Sergio stops at the 90 sign to send the usual SMS to his friends, breaking his boxes because of the late hour (it’s two in the morning), I tell him but he is sure that his friends appreciate the news of the race and proceeds in his “work “.

Stopping to send SMS you see first pass by a woman, about 150 meters away from me and then by two other, younger, another 50 meters away, starts again, reaches me and warns me both of the fact that I am the seventh woman transited (news later revealed to be incorrect) both of the “danger” that I run having regard to the three who follow me at a short distance; I’m not interested in being overtaken by men but women don’t, they don’t have to pass, and then, thinking about it, even men who pass me by now are gone. As for the fact that I only have 200 competitors in front of me, I simply don’t believe it, it is not possible that of the 1600 parties he left behind 1400, something is wrong or … or it means that I prepared well respecting the tables in full prepared by my son and that they are perfect.

I also remember the patience of Antonella who tried to teach me the technique and who prepared the first tables for cross country races, the first half and the first marathons, I also remember the first table ever, the one prepared by Enrico for the first half marathon of Florence back in 1998. With the thought I apologize to Enrico and Antonella if I have now changed coach but I believe that having trusted my son is the best thing, and I know that for this fact they will not take it.

Yes, Florence 1998, how long and how many kilometers traveled since that date and how many already made today, starting precisely from that city which, I realize more and more, brings me luck.

I try to focus on the last km, the competitors are much sparser and I happen to overtake some who walk, others instead of alternating running and walking, there is a man in particular, curiously with a backpack on his shoulder, which now has 20 km this technique, runs for about a km overcoming me, then starts walking until I pass it and then starts running again, in the meantime I have to stop for physiological needs and shortly after resuming running I feel that two people are coming from behind, strange , for some time now I am not overtaken by anyone, does that mean I slowed down? I do not think.

The steps are getting closer, they join me and I realize that they are two young women, and no !, the men pass as well but the women don’t! Right now that there is little to go to the finish (7/8 km) and given the few women who precede me, I decide to resist, change my pace and recover 50 cm, then a meter, two, three, and Sergio then tells me he saw the two girls in turn change their pace and slow down. I’m gassed! they had reached me only because I had stopped, I hadn’t slowed down, they had accelerated after they saw me close enough, but now … it’s another race.

On the momentum I go to get three men who for several miles now I saw running with my own pace at about 50 meters, I pass the guy with the backpack on his shoulder while he is running and I finally start towards Faenza.

We are now at the sign indicating the place of arrival, only three km away, now it is done, it is over, and Sergio warns me that the two girls are no longer seen behind me, I am happy but also very tired, now I can hear the 100 km all , I travel that long straight road that seems to never end and I enter Faenza.

It is now past three in the morning, and nobody can be seen around, in front I see some competing men who walk, talk to each other out loud and joke, I approach them, I pass them and I receive their compliments, we are now in the center city, 500 meters are missing and two girls at the corner of a street, seeing me arrive, incite me and offer me a gerbera daisy; I am moved, I know it is over, I have concluded the bet made with myself, and besides, the gerbera daisy is my favorite flower, how did those two girls know? Are they fairies sent from heaven?

I am very tired but radiant as I walk the last piece of road before Piazza del Popolo and, running with my daisy in hand, I meet Adriano who with his sons Nicola and Mattia await me at the entrance to the square of “their” cities; It is as if I received the official welcome, I greet them and walk the last few meters, I pass under the finish line and I get on the catwalk receiving the medal I remember … now that it is over, I go down to the other side and a girl from the organization calls me chasing me and giving me a second medal, “it’s the category one,” he says.

At the moment I don’t understand why Gigi was there before Sergio and me when he came to meet me, he kneels in front of me and kisses my hand, “get up Gigi what are you doing?” I say “you really deserve it” he replies and I see that he is happier than me.

Sergio and his friends from Fusignano also approach and it’s a big party, they ask me how it went, congratulate me, they are all amazed at how he has neither a blister on his feet, nor a pain anywhere, and for the truth also I am amazed at my physical condition. I collect the bag and while I change the tank top and the shirt literally soaked with sweat, Sergio goes to inquire about the final classification.

He returns radiantly and informs me that in this ultramarathon, valid for the Italian championship, I ranked thirteenth absolute woman and second in the category, “they will be wrong” I say, it is not possible that only 12 women all over Italy are better than me! However, in the second half of the race there were very few competitors who overtook me, and of women .. none.

Vito was right when he advised me to leave for the rest because otherwise in the end I would have paid everything at a high price, I did as he said and in the end I held the position very well, indeed, in Brisighella I was 200 but. and at the finish I ranked 169th. In 10 km I have passed 31 of competitors. “If there were another 50 km you arrived earlier” Sergio tells me “we don’t joke” I answer, it is true that I am fine but I am also tired of running and then I am very happy and satisfied with this result.

Let’s go to the place where you can take a shower and massage while Sergio, Gigi and Romagnoli friends still comment on the race, with the heat, the climbs, the darkness, the people cheering, the perfect supplies, the competitors on the course, but the most popular topic is the result: 13th to 51 years in 12 hours and 29 minutes.

Take a shower, cover me with dry cloths and let me also do the healthy massages, we say goodbye to Gigi who goes to meet Stefano and Paolo who sleep in the gym and with our friends we go to their home in Fusignano for a well-deserved rest of a few hours.

The next morning we return to Piazza del Popolo to attend the awards ceremony and the ranking shown confirms what I already knew but that up until that moment I was questioning; I see the top three classified on the podium, young and radiant women, they are all around 30 years old, but I see that they struggle to move due to pain in the muscles of the legs, I do an examination on me and instead I realize I have nothing out of place, just nothing except a small annoyance to the nail of a big toe.

During the whole race I did not suffer from cramps, from blisters in the feet, nor from severe pain in the back or shoulders, and now I am really well after only a few hours of rest, it means that the preparation was perfect but also that I have a fairly resistant physical structure.

In an instant I retrace my life as a sports activity in the mountains, the long trips on the paths of all the Alps and beyond, the crossing on foot of Corsica with stages even for 12 hours and the heavy backpack, the excursions in the Dolomites and on Monte Rosa and I see how the “resistance to fatigue” has always been a constant for me, I do not struggle to struggle.

I also check the ranking of the “Triptych of Ceramics” and here I have a very welcome surprise because I am third behind Costetti, unreachable for me and Valli only 2.08 minutes, but I must be careful of the Guidetti who, fourth is only 1.09 from myself. For the record, Guidetti was one of the two who had attempted to get me out at km 95 but which I nipped with my resistance.

I am now more excited than ever, at all costs I must do my best to maintain this position, but now I want to run for a while without respecting times and schedules, I will ask Stefano who is now my “personal trainer” to prepare a training course to be implemented from the month of September, workouts that will have to take me quickly (I am not fast) the half of Faenza on November 13 and the Florence Marathon on November 27. I know I can do it because, now I know for sure, Florence really brings me luck.

Emilia Morlacchi

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