The magical Passatore by Angela Gargano, Mariella Dileo, Gionata Cedrola and Nicola Laporta by Mariella Dileo

The magical Passatore by Angela Gargano, Mariella Dileo, Gionata Cedrola and Nicola Laporta by Mariella Dileo

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There are journeys … and journeys … There are friends … and friends …

There are some trips you can only do with certain friends because they require that you have something in common with them … To do this trip, called Passatore, a special thing was required: to be out of your mind, and the four of us really are.

Angela Gargano, her tenth Passatore, the group’s veteran, our safety.

Mariella Dileo, to her second Passatore, with an incredible desire to live it again, that Passatore.

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Gionata Cedrola, in his first Passatore, but a charge and an energy to make two together … always ready to incite everyone.

Nicola Laporta, at his first Passatore, at his first ultra, had the misfortune of having the three of us as friends, but he believed it, until he got to the start of one of the most extreme races.

The Passatore can also be for everyone if you think only how to reach the goal, but it becomes for very few if you think of living it, in its completeness, in joy and in pain, and to do this you must have your legs, and when they will let you go because you become rigid, you have to put your head in it, and when she too will no longer give you reasons to move forward, you must put your heart into it … Only he can get everything moving again. Many can say that they have reached the goal, but few can say they have lived it … We have … lived … dreamed … suffered … desired and rejoiced together, that wonderful goal.

We left Florence at 15.00 with our hearts bursting. Angela suffered from the absence of Michele in the race; Michele is not only her husband, she is her backbone. Mariella left with the joy of seeing her daughter Laura again, but with the pain of not finding her at home because she will return to London: a kiss, a hug and the promise of arriving in Faenza. Jonathan, with his sympathy and strength, has a word for everyone. Nicola, his eyes speak for themselves, a thousand emotions … desire to see the path, desire to read in our eyes the security that we will get to Faenza.

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The show that opens before us is wonderful. From Fiesole you can admire all of Florence, and the climb begins to be felt. Angela we lose her immediately, but I know her well, my friend; I know she has to respect her time, but when we need Angela we magically find her with us with her smile and her strength. Gionata moves away from us, but we always see him, while Nicola and I always stay together.

The Tuscan hills offer us enchanting landscapes. Along the way we find many friends with whom we steal moments of rest, taking some photos, but the most beautiful ones are the ones we will shoot with our eyes and keep in our hearts. I think each of us has made it a particular album.

At 9:30 we are at the Passo della Colla, 1st important milestone, 913 meters above sea level. In the tent, we find myself, Angela, Gionata and Nicola. We change clothes and, from summer clothing, we switch to a winter one with a hat and gloves to face the cold of the night and the woods. Light in the head and heart in the hand, we begin to scollinare. The legs after 50 km go which is a marvel, as Nicola often tells me. Angela we lose her again and Jonathan as well. We are like a train with Jonathan in the head, Angela in the queue, Nicola and I in the center, but always ready to get back together.

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The descent helps us to relax, to experience the most beautiful natural spectacle I’ve ever seen. Thousands of fireflies to keep us company; what music, the frogs, with their croaking; a fairytale moonlight and, above all, the thought that now what we have to do is less than what we have done.

What we are doing is truly a great undertaking! Cross two regions on foot! We perceive it when along the way we find exhausted friends, but who do not stop, friends who join us to join forces and support us. Our crises also begin!

In Marradi, my light goes out and for a moment I see darkness. I tell myself, like last year, why I wanted to get involved in such a difficult race; to give me strength, I promise myself that I will never do it again, but that I must reach the finish line. There are many friends who help me … many. This is the magic of the Passatore: everyone is suffering and everyone is ready to help you.

I lose Nicola, but only the time to overcome my crisis and here, as mentioned before, Angela always has to help you. Let’s get Nicola back. Our train has reassembled itself. The three of us are together again, and we promise that from there to the finish line we will never leave each other. 20 km are missing. With Angela we take a fabulous step, but Nicola in the grip of cramps cannot keep up with us.

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Meanwhile, it begins to dawn. To remember it is the crowing of the rooster that marks the passage to the new day. Wonderful! With joy in the heart and the awareness that the worst is done, we reach 95 km. Now the kilometers are all signposted, and it is great to read those numbers and know that they are the kilometers we have traveled.

Let’s lose Nicola. So Angela and I decide to walk backwards to wait for him and call him constantly: I think he will dream of our voices. Here is Nicola! We see his yellow shirt, but especially those of his two big hands that he printed on his shirt. Those hands supported him and us along that path and now we had to squeeze them to get to the finish together. Nicola joins us, we take the photo at the 99th km, and then off to live the most exciting moment. Nicola’s three hands, because he had a hand with him that never left him, take Angela’s hand on one side and mine on the other. Nicola tells us he wants to cry. I don’t say it but tears already mark my face. Each of us is with our own thoughts, but our hands shake us with a force that I don’t know where it comes from. You see the finish line … The magic has been accomplished!

If God wills, next year I will return to the Passatore because there are friends … and friends …. There are journeys … and journeys. Il Passatore is a journey and a unique friend in the world!

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Click here for photos (by Michele Rizzitelli)

Click here for photos (by Paolo Gino)

Click here for photos (by Mario Liccardi)

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