Sunday, August 30, 2009



Simon G., Rickey G., and I (Joe G.) raced up north in the Piemonte region of Italy in a small town known as Susa. For Rickey and I, it was the last tune up before the big one next week. Simon came across the Atlantic for Susa's historic race, which has been around since 1989!
The race featured a good field with runners from Ethiopia, Japan, USA, New Zealand, Kenya, France, and of course some strong Italians. Many of them with superb road times. The race went out fast as usual. The partenza (start) changed from last year. There had been some construction going on...for a few years. So, finally this year I was able to run the original start of the course. However, an avalanche ruined any hopes of comparing times from the year as the route from 7k on was modified. Approaching the 2k mark, you could see a pack of Ethiopians and Kenyans with Simon and Jono hanging in there as well. A few kilometers later the pack thinned out and I found myself in the mix. Simon was right there as well with Rickey lurking a few seconds back. Jono blew the race open and the ranks stayed pretty much the same nearing 10k. The fog near the top also limited any changing of places being that you if you had someone 10 seconds ahead, they became invisible. In the end I placed 5th, Simon ended up 8th right in front of Rickey at 9th.

At the finish with our friend from Japan
At the prize ceremony. One of the longest waits for a ceremony you will ever experience. First a remembrance of the Partigiani (battle that eventually liberated Italy in 1945) is carried out, moments later a church service along with some singing goes on for a bit. After service, following the Catholic tradition, Communion takes place. Then, after a few hours of hunger, the prize ceremony goes on simultaneously with lunch
During the week of the race a cultural celebration takes place in Susa. After some traditional dances and music from Mexico, Slovakia, and Italy the race directors announced the elite field with the locals in attendance. Its amazing how excited the town is for the runners, for such a small town they had more enthusiasm about mountain running than many of the races I have been to in America

Post-race quote from GU (Who is no longer allowed to say he is old, since he keeps running fast and beating all the young guys)
Simon G.
"It's good to be back in Europe racing, had a solid run and looking forward to supporting the US team at Worlds next week!"
Well hope to see the rest of the team next week, safe travels......Spero che abbiate un buon viaggio!!!


GZ said...

Thanks for the post Joe! Good luck next week!

Lara said...

Nice blogg Joe. Hope you are recovering well. See you at Worlds.