Running

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.

Official competitions

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.

Non-competive competitions

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.

Hiking

Selected hikes.

  • 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).

Biking

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.

Canoe

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.