I’m an amateur runner (best marathon time: 4h 12′, best half-marathon time: 1h 48′) and I like to ride my mountain bike; unfortunately I don’t hike/climb as much I would like.
I started to run official races a few years ago. My performance is not great, but it’s fun and you get the possibility to run in places that are normally precluded due to the traffic. So far, my best running times are: Verona Half Marathon (1h 48′ 01″) and Venice Marathon (4h 12′).
- StraVerona Half Marathon by Night, May 14th, 2011. 21.097 km (21.9 on the Garmin). The first and probably the last! An organizational disaster; the top-10 runner run around 20km… another group of 30 run around 22km; the big group run 21.7km (estimate). How this was possible? I still don’t understand… anyway, for someone who has no hope to win it was fun anyway.
- Lake Garda Marathon, October 10th, 2010, 42.195km. The date of the race was 10.10.10. Read as a binary number, “101010” is equal to 42. This number is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything (http://bit.ly/d39QB6). So, I run 42+ Km at the Garda Lake Marathon. I did not set my record, because my temperature on Friday was 38°C (luckily, it wasn’t… 42°C). But guys, it was worth every painful meter — what a a beautiful day! PS If you think I’m crazy, listen to this: around km 35, I was looking down at my shoes and thinking: “this guy has the same shoes as me”…
- Verona Half Marathon, February 21st, 2010 and February 20th, 2011. 21.097 km (21.6 on the Garmin). In 2010, I completed it in 1h 52′ 54″, I was supposed to improve my time, but the day before the race I had the fever (38° C) and a sore throat, so I think it is a good result anyway. In 2011, I actually improved my record: 1h 48′ 01″.
- Garda Trentino Half Marathon, November 15th, 2009 and November 14th, 2010. 21.097 km (21.6 on the Garmin). Among my best times in a half-marathon — 1h 49′ 17″ in 2009, 1h 48′ 46″ in 2010.
- Boston Half-Marathon, October 11th, 2009. Well, the Garmin was under repair, so I’m linking the official map here. And I did not actually subscribe to the race, because when I noticed the coincidence — being in Boston the day of the half-marathon — subscribtions were already closed. So I just joined the runners, and did a decent time: 1h 52′ 19″. Something to remember, apart from the beautiful Boston surroundings: the hamburgher at the end! In Italy, we just get bananas and cookies…
- Pustertaler Drei Viertel Halb-marathon, August 30th, 2009, 17.75km. This race runs from Brunico to Campo Tures in the Alto-Adige region, where I have my vacations. The german name means “3/4 half-marathon”, or 17.6 km (the Garmin always reports 1–2% more). 1h 32′ 30″, quite a relaxed pace. I was expecting public transport to reach Brunico in the morning, but they did not actually expect anybody using it, so there was nothing… I was lucky to reach the starting line hitchhiking on a fireworker jeep.
- Venice marathon, October 26th, 2008, 42.195km. This a classic marathon in Italy, famous for the last kilometers with 14 bridges to cross — one of them built annually just for the marathon. My best marathon time is here: 4h 12′; maybe the fact that I had to catch a flight to Brussels in the early afternoon was a good motivation…
- Custoza Marathon, May 2008 and 2009, 42.195km. My best time here is 4h 26′. On the hills of Sommacampagna, where the Custoza wine is produced. In both occasions, very very hot.
- Cortina-Dobbiaco Run, May 2008 and 2009, 30.00km. The race starts in Cortina d’Ampezzo, and, after 30 kms, ends in Dobbiaco. This is the best race ever, between the Dolomites, two beatiful lakes, and the impressive and majestic Three Lavaredo Peaks. 3h 02′ my best time here.
Well, what “non-competitive competitions” means? These are races where (1) there is no official timing; (2) there is no official start; (3) there is no check along the course to verify that everybody did actually complete the race. In some of these races, one of the biggest problem is that the refreshment stands are out of “cotechino” (a kind of salami) at 10.00AM…
Participating in these races is always fun — you can see all kinds of runners.
- Straverona, on the hills of Verona and in the city center, around May, 21km. This has been my first “competition” ever, I started running it in 2006. My best time in 2010, 1h 58′ 25″ (thanks Mattia)
- Quattro Passi di Primavera, on the hills of Verona around Montecchio, in April, 20km. Organized by Giovane Montagna di Verona. Best time in 2008, 2h 10′
- Sgambada di S. Giuseppe, on the hills of Verona in Valpantena, around March, 17.5km. The hill-climbing after S. Maria in Stelle is terrible for your legs. Best time in 2010, 1h 39′ (thanks Mattia)
- Cavalcata della Val Squaranto, on the hills of Verona in Val Squaranto, around January, 16.1km. Only in 2010 so far — running in the snow!
Running around the world
Traveling a lot for conferences, workshops, meetings and the like, I’ve got the opportunity to map my runs around the world. These are usually short runs, because I spend most of the time looking around…
- Miami, USA, April, 2008. Miami Beach… too many distractions (guess what?), impossible to focus on running!
- Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, July, 2008. Not so different from Miami Beach… well… kinda.…
- Aachen, Germany, September, 2008. Nothing particular to remember here.
- Leiden, The Netherlands, September, 2008. Around the “grachten”!
- Atlanta, USA, January, 2009 — 6.5km. A short run around Piedmont park.
- Son Parc, Minorca, Spain, July, 2009 — 9.3km. I was there for the family vacation. A scenic run in the Son Parc area of Minorca. There were “No trespassing” signs, but those are for cars, right? Turns out that they were meant for everybody — runners as well.
- Seattle, USA, September, 2009 — 9.5km. At 6.00 AM… sleepless in Seattle. Did it a couple of times… on the second day, a fellow runner asked me for directions — and I’ve been able to answer!
- San Francisco, USA, September, 2009 — 8.75km. What I can say? Up and down, up and down… So I decided to run on the waterfront.
- Chennai, India (ex Madras), December, 2009 — 7.00km. Unusual running companions this time — monkeys! And when you see the “Beware of crocodiles” sign, you know that it is time to go back.
- Passo del Cimirlo, Trento, Italy, March 16th, 2010 — 8.50km. Well, this is Trento… but given that I don’t live in Trento, in five years this has been my only run there…
- Gramado, Rio Grande du Sul, Brazil, May 25th, 2010 — 7.00km. A short run in Gramado — the city that you don’t expect in Brazil (famous for the german architecture…). See also my bike ride to the Caracol waterfall and the Ferradura park.
- Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, Nov 28th, 2010 — 5.50km. A short run in the IIT Campus in Kampur. Stay inside the campus is my motto: outside is terrible. It was nice to see professors doing yoga and meditation on their gardens.
- Oslo, Norway, May 12th, 2011 — 5.7km. The day before (sun, warm) I was thinking about moving to Norway, but rain and fog reminded me why I like Verona and Trento. I ran in a small park close to the hotel.
- Stockholm, Sweden, June 2nd, 2011 and June 5th, 2013 — 13km. Wonderful wheather in Kista, both times! After a random run between the buildings, I finally found a beatiful trail in the small forest close by. There were several trails, 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, 15 km; you see the 10km here (green). Roe deers, squirrels, rabbits and very few people in the early morning. One advice: follow the paths, don’t think you can get a sense of direction there…
- Kyoto, Japan, September 4th, 2011 — 6.2km. This is a very short run, but what a scenery! First I passed through the precinct of the Nanzen-ji temple, then I followed the “Tetsugaku-no-michi” (literally, “path of the philosophy”), a beatiful small trail along a canal that pass by the temples of Eikan-do, Honen-In and Ginkaku-ji.
- Delft, The Netherlands, September 6th, 2011 — 6km. Coming back from Japan, a stop-over in Delft for a Ph.D. defense. A short run around the city.
- Tarragona, Spain, September 2012 — 12km. A very nice run around the city of Tarragona, with the beatiful scenery of the roman amphitheatre on one side and the beach on the other side.
- Stavanger, Norway, 23 April 2013 — 6km. A short run in Stavanger, home of my friend Hein. Started from the city center, moved toward the cost. The run could have lasted more but it was quite cold.
- Berlin, Germany, 25 April 2013 — 7km — Visiting the EIT IctLabs, a nice run in the Tiergarten area. Some strange buildings, like this one; wondering what it was, it happens to be a “cavitation tunnel” (?)
- Paris, France, 16 February 2014 — 11.5km — Just before a project meeting, I had a very nice run on the river Seine, in a surprising warm Paris
- New York, USA, 9 March 2014 — 10km — The classic of all time: Central Park!
- Porto, Portugal, 29 August 2014 — 13km — Along the river Douro first and then the Atlantic ocean
- London, UK, 10 Settembre 2014 — 10km — Along the Hyde Park — with the Royal Guard riding their horses along the park in the morning.
- Indian Henry Hounting Ground, Mt. Rainier, WA, USA, September 2009 — 27.5km. Between P2P’09 in Seattle and SASO’09 in San Francisco, I spent three days on the Mt. Rainier National Park. Three wonderful days, no telephone, no Internet, just my log cabin just outside the park. In this particular hike, I met 5 people in 7 hours…
- Lake George, Mt. Rainier, WA, USA, September 2009 — 32.7km. Another beatiful hike. When I arrived at Lake George, I was completely alone. I never felt a silence like that…
- Mt. Spathi, Crete, Greece. July 2010 — 15.6km, 900m of vertical gain. I rented a car and tried to reach the top of Mt. Spathi (2147m) in the Dikti range of Crete. Unfortunately, I was unable to reach the top due to the bad weather (clouds around the top, and no visible trail to follow). Anyway, before the clouds, I had a beatiful view of both the north and the south side of Crete.
- Following the E4 Path towards Neato Plateau, Crete, Greece. July 2011. The E4 European Path is one of the European long-distance paths starting in Spain at its southernmost point and leading through France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to end in Greece. It visits the Greek island of Crete as well as Cyprus. I followed a short section of it in Crete, reaching a small plain called Neato and reaching the bottom of the White Mountains — they are white indeed!
- Imbros Gorge, Crete, Greece. July 2011. Imbros Gorge is a 11 km long canyon located near Hora Sfakion in southern Crete, with a narrowest part which is 1.60m wide. It runs parallel to Samaria Gorge — which is much more famous but also much more packed with people. I started from the Imbros Village and went down to Kommitades, without meeting anybody (6.00 in the morning, though). I met somebody only when I was reaching Imbros again (around 9.30).
I don’t have many beatiful bike rides to show; hope to improve in the future.
- Trento-Verona, July 2008 — 100.00km. A crazy idea — going home from Trento by bike… through the mountains, with 1500 meters of difference in level. Once arrived home, I checked the Garmin: 99.6km: I must confess, I actually circled around the block to see 100.00km on the Garmin…
- Caracol Waterfall and Ferradura Park, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil., May 2010 — 43.00km. The best way to get to know a place — running and riding a bike. Here I went to a beatiful waterfall and to “Horseshoe (ferradura)” canyon. The only problem: brasilian dogs don’t like me.
- Dictaeon Andron, Crete, Greece, July 2010 — 55.00km, 1000 meters of vertical gain. The best way to enjoy the seaside… renting a mountain bike and going to the mountains! This is why I love Crete, there are beatiful mountains there. The goal: the dictaeon andron, a cave where, according to mithology, Zeus was reared.
- Around Lessinia. This is a beatiful trail around the mountains of Verona. 32 km and only 1 km on asphalt; me and Riccardo got to have a very close encounter with a beaver — with no fear of human beings at all. Have a look at this short video if you don’t believe me!.
- The Apokoronas Tour, Crete, July 2011 Apokoronas is a municipality close to Chania, Crete. Starting from Kavros, near Georgiopolis, I cycled around the entire area (51 km). Very nice tour, started at six in the morning, reaching the villages when the local inhabitants were having breakfast at the cafe. Final destination: the Kalives village.
Running, hiking, cycling and now.… paddling!
- Near Georgiopolis, Crete, July 2011, 5.5km. In a day when the sea was incredibly calm, I rented a canoe bringing my faithful (but not water-resistant) Garmin with me. Lucky me, the Garmin hasn’t suffered at all.