A Giant Foam Salami, Scorching Sun And Wonderful Trails

by Maria E. Bellini

Trail del Salame 2017 – 28th May 2017, San Michele Tiorre, Felino – Parma, Italy

It’s not that easy to be objective about featuring your own running club’s yearly Trail race. You kind of love it on principle. The underlying humour that seems to be at the core of this hilly trail race is what I like best. The six foot foam rubber Salami that’s precariously yet proudly propped up by the podium surrounded by branded banners, says it all. The Trail del Salame, is set in friendly Emilia-Romagna at the end of May, when the soft hills that separate the Po Valley from the Apennines, are at their springtime best.

Myself, getting to grips with the impressive Salami
Myself, getting to grips with the impressive Salami

Quite relieved that I only had to walk/run the 10km, take photos, and a few videos for my running club Atletica Casone Noceto. I arrived early in time to meet up with friends Angela and Grant, from the U.K. who were doing the Trail del Salame as part of a short break to Italy.

An astonishing 600 people were participating in one of the Trail del Salame’s three distances: 10, 23 and 36km, or family walk, or dedicated Kids Trail Race, some having come as far as U.S.A. U.K. and Austria (not the kids!).

Angela and Grant from the U.K. and Mary Jane Bujdos from U.S.A.
Angela and Grant from the U.K. and Mary Jane Bujdos from U.S.A.

Taking part in the Trail del Salame this year was Mary Jean Bujdos from Indiana, Pennsylvania, who runs with the Indiana Road Runners Club, and Igor Sarzi Sartori of Italian origin, but living in Austria, who did a whopping 800km return journey from Vienna just to run the Trail Del Salame, and Matteo Marcellini, who likes the course so much that he first ran the 23km and then not having had enough, ran the 36km! Also on the 36km course was Martin Trout – in preparation for this season’s races, you can read about Martin’s experiences of Trail running in Italy, HERE.

Just before the start...
Just before the start…

With a typically Italian ‘warm start to the day’, the sun was soon threatening to evolve from “pleasant status” to “scorching”. This threat turned into a reality, and, a ludicrously stellar humidity count together with a fire ball disguised as the sun, was to accompany runners as they made their way across gentle hills, vast fields and small hobbit like patches of woodland that delightfully paint the Felino countryside, just a few miles from the city of Parma in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The race route also awards runners with the view and experience of two castles that are part of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza: Felino and Torrechiara. Read Italy on Trail’s Guide to the area’s Castles HERE.

The refreshment point at Felino Castle
The refreshment point at Felino Castle

As I’ve been running for only 3 years with my running team, I was blissfully ignorant as to the Trail del Salame’s origins so I caught up with Fabrizio Foglia, Co-Race Director along with Simone Azzolini, and asked him to tell me a bit where it all began.

Race Directors Simone Azzolini and Fabrizio Foglia
Race Directors Simone Azzolini and Fabrizio Foglia

“The Trail del Salame, saw its first edition in 2011 when the Italian Trail running movement really started to take off. Here in Parma, the local sports “umbrella” Association U.I.S.P. pioneered the scene, in helping to set up a Provincial Trail Running Circuit together with other local running clubs, and hence the Circuito Provinciale Trail Running Parma came to be.” Fabrizio tells me. “Our Running Club, Atletica Casone Noceto, ever since its beginnings in 1981 has always organized road races, and several years ago as we started up a specific Trail section – so it only seemed natural to organise a trail running event too!”

A relaxing race route, hills, hay, a farmhouse and the smell of Spring in the air...
A relaxing race route, hills, hay, a farmhouse and the smell of Spring in the air…

One of the Trails del Salame’s many strengths lies in the help it receives from volunteers towards the year round maintenance of the race route, looking after way markings and signage, cutting grass, clearing paths and trails. And on race day, with over 60 marshals, 6 aid stations, quads, medical staff, post race massages, chefs at the post race pasta party and race sweepers. Plus the 25 generous sponsors that contributed to race packs, aid stations and refreshments. The Trail del Salame is 100% team effort.

Anyone for a massage? Post race relaxation!
Anyone for a massage? Post race relaxation!

Any plans for future editions I ask Fabrizio?

“Well, ideally we’d love to take the race to the marathon distance, but that really means a different ball game all together from a logistical point of view. Or perhaps keep the shorter distance (23-25km) and offer different ways of running it – relay, or night Trail running, teams, or other formulas.”

So if you’re in the area next year, why not consider running the Trail del Salame!

Morena Benecchi travels to the race on her Vespa
Morena Benecchi travels to the race on her Vespa

Trail Del Salame 2017 RESULTS:

10 km
M: RINALDI FILIPPO ASD KINO MANA 00:40:01.7
F: PEZZAROSSA MARIA CITTADELLA 1592 00:50:11.0

23 km
M: VIGNALI FABRIZIO ATLETICA CASONE NOCETO 02:00:18.0
F: ADORNI ELISA ASD MINERVA FORREST GROUP 02:18:38.0

36 km
M: DEFENDI FRANCESCO LA RECASTELLO RADICI GROUP 03:29:44.0
F: TURRINI ELEONORA CHIARA G.S Self Montanari e Gruzza 03:55:06.0

 

Trail del Salame – race facts

When: End of May
Where: San Michele Tiorre, Felino, Parma – Emilia-Romagna, Itay.
Course: Various distances, in the hills, trails, grassy fields.
Get there: Fly to Bologna or Milan, then rent a car.


Maria E. BelliniMaria Elisabetta Bellini is Italyontrail.com’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.

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