Maureen Simpson (mia moglie) ha partecipato per la prima volta ad una 6 ore podistica, cogliendo l'occasione con la 6 ore di San Gregorio... per vivere (Catania) alla sua prima edizione.
Esordio di questa nuova sei ore siciliana e debutto di Maureen in una sei ore siciliana.
Ottima combinata! E, malgrado le numerose riserve che aveva espresso nell'attesa dell gara, il risultato finale è stato buono.
E' riuscita a percorrere quasi 62 km e si è classificata prima delle donne (ma anche terza assoluta).
Di seguito il suo resoconto.
Chi non conoscesse l'Inglese, può servirsi di Google Translate.
(Maureen Simpson Crispi) On Saturday the 9th of May, was the '6 ore di San Gregorio per Vivere', a brand new event for Sicily, organised by a lovely lady runner from Catania: Eleonora Suizzo. They don't have a website, but you can read about it on Maurizio's webpage. San Gregorio is a little village very near to Catania. The race was a 6 hour race, where you had to run around a piazza and the distance was 500meters. So the idea is that you run as far as you can within the 6 hours and the winner is the one who has run the furtherst in that time.
It was with some trepidation that I embarked on this race. My inclination and preference in running races is to run point to point or one lap, to run on trails if possible, to run long distances and to run in less crowded conditions. The thought of running round the same 500 meter lap in continual full few of spectators for 6 hours was rather daunting to me. Also I seldom ever run more than 10kms at a time these days, and that's with the baby jogger, so not exactly speedy!
I'm an artist, I'm visual and I love that about running, seeing new things, watching a path unfold, going on the journey, and so on. I love nature and fresh air and big open spaces. But I decided to give it a try. Cities and towns are great playgrounds for running too, it has to be said! Also being new in Sicily, it was a good way to meet some more runners and visit a new place, and of course, to run in full view of the glorious Mount Etna is an experience in itself.
Naturally Maurizio was armed with camera's and Gabriel in his jogging buggy, and of course, Frida the dog dutifully and quietly for a dog, in tow.
The organisation of the race was fantastic, the marshalls and everyone involved were as friendly, welcoming and helpful as you could ever wish for. Naturally, even with only 26 runners in total [not bad for a first race, AND an ultra, in Sicily it must be said! I say that, because In general, unlike in the UK, the shorter distances are favoured by most runners. So it is a lot of work to set up a new ultra and entice the runners!]
I noticed that there were still the amazing group photo's popping up all over the place before the race. Let me explain, Sicilians have this amazing skill, - I think they must be born with it, I havent figured it out yet - to suddenly within seconds and out of nowhere to create this amazing group photo, just like a professional school photo. Talls at the back, mediums on the side, shorties in front, and then the clowns and the yoga experts doing funky poses in the front just to make it unique. Every face can be seen and it's all perfectly symetrical and graceful, and everyone is smiling joyously. You'd think they'd paid a film director to achieve these photo's! So, there was lots of that!
Anyway, the race began at exactly mid day, and it was quite a hot day! Luckily this was easily dealt with by the water station open every second of the race, about 100 meters after the 'start' and then the hose pipe, manned by a series of eager young sprayers, just near the finish. So in effect you could run pretty much permanently drenched and satiated at all times. Then to top that, there was no shortage of encouragement from fellow runners, marshalls, family and onlookers. So never could you really let yourself get too demoralised or tired, or, perhaps more importantly, bored!!
I was pleasently suprised:
- I didn't get bored of the scenery or the repetitious laps, partly because of one very important factor - nearly every single lap, I was greated with a most wonderful and delighful scene of Gabriel and his Papi, playing, singing, collecting things, eating icecream, shouting Mama Mama and generally just having a lovely time, it seemed. I was able to be part of that every 500 meters! I even did a few laps with the baby jogger just for a change!
- I didn't feel too self conscious being visible and 'on show' for 6 hours. It felt more like I was just inside a typical Italian Piazza full of joviallity and community and intrigue.
- luckily the roads were blocked so we werent invaded by fumes and car noises and it was only a little village and the race itself was quite familial and un-celebrity, so that was perfect.
All in all, I really enjoyed the race. I met some lovely new people and now have a barage of new FB friends! The race banter is still carrying on almost 2 weeks later, which just shows how fully the Sicilians enter into events, with all their heart and soul and enthusiasm. You just can't help being picked up by these waves when you run a Sicilian event! I still think I prefer a less visible ultra, with a more 'linear' plot, but I can happily say that I have tried and thoroughly enjoyed a 6 hour circuit ultra and what better place to do that than Sicily!!