As another foot or more of snow is expected to fall over Amherst and the university is closed one more time, the running season is already fully in motion; last weekend saw the best American long-distance runners join in Houston, TX for the US Half-Marathon Championship with Mo Trafeh winning over Ryan Hall by 3 seconds in 1:02:17, and Jennifer Rhines leading in 1:11:14. In Italy the rap’s not much different, as Italian runners gathered in Varese for the Italian Cross-Country Championship.
A caveat: I don’t know how to translate few terms used in the field, and I went for sub-elite for the allievi/allieve category, while translating literally junior/senior maschili/femmili and promesse categories.
On Sunday, January 30th, the Italian XC Championship were held in Varese and after many year were open to amateurs. The race was run in the Varese hippodrome on a route of roughly 2km (~1.5mi) to be looped around few times depending on the category.
It has to be said: the organization was amazing, with warm areas for both runners and spectators, lockers, showers, coffee and so on. In my opinion, the only flaw was the absence of an onlooking crowd along the route, as they had to remain on the stands throughout the race.
The championship opened with the junior women (5,800m); the race was won by the Swiss Auf der Maur, but, because she wasn’t participating in the championship, the title went to Letizia Titon who finished in 21’43” winning by 4 seconds over Virginia Abate and Camille Marchese.
Then it was the turn for the junior men (7,800m); Andrea Sanguinetti won easily in 24’25” with a gap of one minute over the Moroccan Rachik Yassine the Somali Abdikadar Sheik Mo.
The senior men’s race saw the European bronze medalist Meucci, the Italian reigning champion on the 5,000m La Rosa, and Bona fighting fiercely on the 9,400m route; Daniele Meucci prevailed in 28’23” before Kaddour Slimani (28’42”), Stefano La Rosa (28’56”), Bona (29’03”) followed by the promising Razine and Sterni in respectively 29’26” and 29’28”. Razine and Sterni won the promises title with Ragusa (29’52”) as third.
I raced alongside these amazing runners, and to much of my surprise (I wasn’t feeling much well-trained) I finished 107 (and 39 as a promise) with a time of 33’30”: it’s a great start for following races, and I loved the route.
To close the day were the senior women; Nadia Ejjafini won running 7,800m in 27’20” followed by Leila Soufyane (+27”) and Veronica Inglese (+51”); this very young runner won the promises title over Jessica Pulina (29’07”) and Elena Vittone, who seized the third place by a handful of seconds over Ilaria Castiglioni.
After the pros, the sub-elites took the field: the men race (5,000m) was won by Italo Quazzola and the women race (4,000m) by Christine Santi.
I truly enjoyed the championship were open since it helps in promoting running and gives everybody the opportunity to run in an championship.
[update] Antonio, at AndòCorri, has published three videos of the xc championship: