Italy on Trail’s Maria Bellini runs the Krash Trail. A point to point trail race in Emilia-Romagna. From Brisighella to Faenza, in the province of Ravenna.
Sweat was dripping off my forehead and corroding my eyes when the compact and friendly looking mountain that goes by the name of Monte Mauro came into view along with one of the area’s numerous Info Panels, kindly informing me of my whereabouts in the world.
Exhausted, I came to a halt and scanned the illustrated information on the wooden board. I was startled to learn that I was now witnessing a gypsum thrust. A what thrust? This unexpectedly conjured up quite different connotations and youthful memories of a rather enthusiastic ex-boyfriend from the ’80’s… Not daring to read more for fear of unsettling my already borderline ‘race mojo’, I trundled on panting, trying to banish all thoughts of thrusting gypsum.
A group of hikers were approaching me (fast) so I forced myself into a
sprint jog until I’d safely turned a corner and was out of sight. Mauro Mountain, was getting nearer, and he seemed to be sneering slightly… Now how was I going to get up there? I wondered as I gasped for breath and took a sip of my slightly disgusting, ill chosen yak* flavoured sports drink.
The logistics of signing up for the Krash Trail had been simple. Organized by Team “Leopodistica A.S.D.” the same guys that brought us the Capraia Trail. Entry to the 44k had been straightforward, via MySdam, one of the Italian Race Registration websites. Now all that was left to do was prepare my mandatory kit, prepare myself (harder said than done), and get there. Oh, and run it.
A bit about the Krash Trail
2017 was the second edition of the Krash Trail. The Race started in the medieval village of Brisighella – part of the Italian network “Borghi più belli d’Italia” – Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages . Bib collection took place in the local cinema, we were also given a T-Shirt, arm warmers and a voucher for the post race Pizza party. The rest of our race pack, bottle of Pignoletto wine, a salami, piadine, and gels, were to be collected post race at Faenza.
The sun was out. Fierce too for Mayday. At 10.30 am 221 trail runners set off for either the 44km or 22km. There was a festive, relaxed atmosphere, as we made our way through the colourful central streets of Brisighella, through the Via degli Asini (“Donkeys’ Road”) an elevated defence route, and up towards the Torre del Orologio – the Clock Tower! After that we were on the trails, and the group loosened up and spread out…
The Krash Trail race route was incredibly varied. Woodland, olive groves, dirt tracks, vineyards, some hiary moments along the single track on Monte Mauro – there was some exposure although plenty of protective ropes had been put up by race organisation and there were race marshals along the route. Part of the Krash Trail took us through the Parco Regionale della Vena del Gesso Romagnola – the Romagnola Chalk Vein Regional Park. And this is where all my geological overload and confusion came to be!
Minor Gypsum Detour
So, the ‘Chalk’ is actually Gypsum. What is Gypsum? According to the Oxford dictionary it’s “A soft white or grey mineral consisting of hydrated calcium sulphate. It occurs chiefly in sedimentary deposits and is used to make plaster of Paris and fertilizers, and in the building industry.”
Back To The Race!
The silvery gypsum mineral was clearly visible along parts of the trail, an almost glassy look that brightened up the path. But more geological wonders lay ahead as the course took us across a surreal landscape of gullies and badlands. There was quite a narrow-ish ridge with steep ravines to either side. This is where I put my ‘exposure-fear‘ to the test. Heart beating slightly faster than usual. Concentration. No looking sideways. Thankfully there was a race marshal on hand.
The race route evolved from the initial medieval surroundings, right through mesmerizing landscape down towards the artistic ceramics capital of Italy – Faenza. The course became decidedly more Urban – which in itself is fascinating. To be doing something so special in completely ordinary surroundings.
The Krash Trail cut through Faenza, rumbled along the canal, flew past the cemetery and smased through everday life. Finally into the city centre. Ancient buildings, elegant ‘Palazzi’, obscure churches, and impressive facades accompanied us into the magnificent porticoed square: The Piazza del Popolo.
Slightly dazed, I trotted under the race arch** – Race directors Leo Callini and Marco Gurioli welcomed me, and a friendly face put a medal over my head.
Thankfully there were plenty of lovely comforts available: hot showers, massages by J-Lab, and a much appreciated Pizza Party. Plus of course the warmth of the local “Romagnolo” population, known for their generosity and good spirit. Which at the end of the day is the greatest comfort of all.
RUN IT: Some race facts:
- You are allowed to use race poles
- Max time limit for 44k was 9 hours and for 22km 6 hours
- It’s called Krash Trail – as race directors wanted a name which crashed with tradition!
- There were 4 aid stations on race route – all having liquids and solids
- Mandatory equipment was: whistle, telephone, survival blanket, 1 litre of water/hydration, personal beaker, water proof jacket
- Loris Farolfi – blogger for Foto Trail Running is part of the organizing team. You can read our interview with him HERE
SUM IT UP – The Krash Trail is a geologists dream trail.
2017 – RESULTS
1 M PIGONI MATTEO ITA, TEAM LA SCARPA 3:35:32
1 F MONTELLI DANIELA ITA, 3’30″/KM ROAD & TRAIL RUNNING TEAM A.S.D 5:02:55
Fly to Bologna – Brisighella is 70km by car.
*OK, so it wasn’t yak
**I arrived 45th BELLINI MARIA ELISABETTA ITA, ATLETICA CASONE NOCETO ASD 6:48:41
Maria 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.