This month saw the fourth edition of the Florence Urban Trail. This event is unique as it is tied to places that are symbols of art and architecture while delivering the emotions of a truly challenging sporting event. Participants are taken on “an adventure of discovery made of sweat and wonder” along paths full of magnificent sights, historic and artistic monuments. Runners move through the stairways of old Florence and up in the hills, one of the main challenges for the contenders. It’s no wonder the race attracts many local and foreign runners.
Amongst the many Firenze Urban Trail participants, this year, was Nico de Corato, owner and founder of DubaiBlog that was also Media Partner for the event. Nico is Italian but he travelled from Dubai for this race. He is an ultra-marathon runner and the Firenze Urban Trail was the right, unique fitness event and sporting endeavor to challenge him.
The race, this year, happened in an overly chilly, rainy day, but, nevertheless, the event has been a success. Nico tells how the rain, the mud and countless climbs added to the difficulty. But he was determined to carry on, like so many others—nearly 2,000 athletes—intrigued by the challenge of distance running. Of course, he opted to partake in the Ultrachallenge (13 km night + 45 km). He enjoyed going the maximum distance despite all the hardships of a “wet surface / slippery / muddy [that] did not diminish the enthusiasm but made for a very difficult challenge.” At times, the race looked everything but “urban”!
Nevertheless, Nico tells how great it was to explore a beautiful city like Florence as one of the runners; this epic adventure he entered was filled with many intense thrills on some off-the-beaten-paths that allowed participants to enjoy glimpse of the landscape.
The Firenze Urban Trail (Run or Walk, or both) included three events: a 13 km by-night race on Saturday, March 4 and, on Sunday, March 5, a 30-km and a 45-km race in the morning. In addition, for the more adventurous, there were two extra options that combined the 13-km by night race with the 30k event (the challenge) or the 45k event (the ultrachallenge). Nico, of course, opted for the ultrachallenge!
The by-night 13k had sold-out with 1,000 runners at the start. The path, all illuminated by the headlamps in the pouring rain, run up and down the streets of the historic city center on a route that took participants through the most historical and popular sights (Piazza della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery portico, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, up the San Miniato al Monte hill and passing by Erta Canina and Piazzale Michelangelo to end up back at Piazza Santa Croce) while onlookers applauded.
A much harder route offered the 30k and 45k race towards the countryside and famous hills (Settignano, Fiesole, Monte Ceceri, Maiano) “to return to the center along the banks of the Arno river in a real technical trail with an elevation gain of 1200 meters for the 45 km (about 600 meters for the 30 km) with breathtaking views, but also with an infinite number of ascents for which I was not prepared,” Nico said.
Nico was able to complete his challenge by pacing himself through the night race, paying particular attention to nutrition and hydration (thanks also to his water sponsor Monviso) and thanks to the specific mindfulness training he went through in the few weeks before with his coach Andrea Colombo (www.mentecorpo.it).
The Firenze Urban Trail by Night or Day combination was ideal for those who wished to see Florence in all its hues and ambiances. Those who go to experience the magic of running through Florence are sure up for an enchanting adventure and a thrilling experience.