How to Choose the Right “First-Time” Trail Running Race

Why Run a Trail Race in Italy?

by Maria E. Bellini

Where - when - how - who - Which race to choose in Italy?Because it’s a stunning country, so diverse from north to south which we write about here  – and which we think will never fail to amaze!
Perhaps you’ve looked up the major Italian Trail races. Yes. Those races with a zillion km and about as much ascent that could take you to the moon. Great websites. In English too. But perhaps you’re not quite ready for a plus 100k distance yet (but then who ever is!?).

So how do you choose an Italian Trail race that’s potentially right for you – if you’ve never raced in Italy or anywhere ‘away’ before?

Here are Italy on Trail’s top tips

1) Try and choose a race which you can comfortably incorporate into a long weekend.

2) Consider a race in the Apennines, where climbs are more gentler than in the Alps or the Dolomites.

3) Bear in mind that you will probably need a car to get to location, and will have to navigate the Italian motorways.

4) Choose a race that starts within a reasonable distance to the airport Here is a list of Italian AirportsTraffic can be quite intense around major Italian cities on Friday & Sunday evenings as people leave the city or come back for weekends. Allow plenty of time for travel.

6) It’s great to challenge yourself… but for a first time Trail race, you may feel more comfortable choosing an event that you know you are capable of finishing on good form. As you will have plenty of other factors to be dealing with other than the race, such as the planning, the getting there, and all in a different language. So much so that running might strangely becomes the easiest part!

7) Team up with a friend! Sharing the prep, the logistics and the race together will make things a whole lot easier.

8) Pick races that have clear, up to date websites, that are easy to understand (if in Italian) with the help of Google translate.

9) Contact race organisers with any queries. See who gets back to you straight away… and who takes a little longer. Many race organisers will have someone on the team who will be able to answer your questions in English and will probably be only to happy to help you.

10) Always check with the organisers what the specific requirements are for entry. Being a foreign athlete means that terms may be different from those specified on the Race website which are primarily geared towards Italian athletes, who practice the sport under the national Athletics standards.

11) Check previous year’s race results. Were there any foreigners? Can you contact them through social media and ask for information?

12) Scour the web for race reports, photos, and videos. Get a feel for the race course.

13) Be open minded. Prepare well in advance. And above all – enjoy the research.

14) Be prepared to pack mandatory equipment, most Italian Trail races require some form of kit. We’ve prepared a short guide with English-Italian vocabulary

15) The “ups and downs”! There are lots of hills and mountains in Italy, so carefully consider the race’s level gain and also your level of preparation. It’s quite acceptable to walk on the uphills, but keep in mind race cut-off times and your walking technique. If you need brushing up, check out our guide to walking in trail races.

16) Read the race rules, with the help of Google translate if need be! Don’t risk being disqualified on the race day – you can bear penalties for various things, from cutting corners, to littering to forgetting a bit of kit. Read our guide here!

 

…If you have any ideas and would like to contribute – please do!

 


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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