Interview by Maria E. Bellini
Meet Martin John Trout – an Ultra runner and Mountaineer living in Italy. Originally from Harrow, London U.K. Martin has been working in the Perfume Industry for over 30 years.
Married with two children, and a long-haired Jack Russell terrier (who is also his training partner), Martin is often to be found on the trails! Other than running himself, Martin is also a Ski Mountaineering instructor with the Club Alpino Italiano C.A.I. (Italian mountaineering association).
He also offers coaching services for all levels of trail and mountain runners at Endurance Training in Progress and is a regular contributor to Italian Trail Running Magazine Spirito Trail, and covers various aspects of training. Martin’s love for adventure has taken him to many parts of the globe with expeditions in the Andes and Himalayas as well as activity in the Alps. For some of Martin’s top training tips for the Italian Trails, read our article HERE.
Finmd Martin at Endurance Training in Progress at email@example.com and martinjohntrout.wixsite.com
UTMB (2010, 2011, 2014), CCC (2009), LUT (2012), Grantrail Valdigne (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), Sellaronda (2012), Porte di Pietra (2011, 2012), Elba Trail (2012), Monte Soglio (2010), Maddalena Trail (2009), Grantrail Rensen (2013), Ultrabericus (2013, 2014, 2016), Dolomiti di Brenta (2016), Monte Rosa Walser (2016), Ultra Trail Mugello (2014, 2015), Sciacche Trail (2015).
M.B. Martin, how long have you been living in Italy?
It’s been 38 years! I came here from the UK, shortly after having finished my University studies – BA in Human Sciences and Post Graduate in Sports Education.
You’ve got an extensive Race Bio!
Having run most of the Classic Italian Trail Races, which have been your favourite?
One of the best races in Italy was the Gran Trail Valdigne. [the Gran Trail Valdigne was the first Italian Ultra over 80km. Set in the Aosta Valley, it ran from 2007 to 2012. ndr] Unfortunately this groundbreaking race was suppressed some years ago and substituted by the Licony Trail and Grantrail Courmayeur. I haven’t done either of these yet.
In 2016 I ran the first edition of the Dolomiti di Brenta Trail (65km), which was really fantastic, in a great mountain setting. This has the possibility of becoming another classic Italian trail race especially if they are able to lengthen the race route and also offer a 100k version.
Both the Elba Trail on the rugged Island of Elba and the Sciacche Trail in Liguria are great coastal races with some of the best scenery you can get in Italy.
I also love the Ultrabericus, that takes place in the Vicenza hilly countryside for its excellent organization, incredible atmosphere and it’s also a great mid-March early season tune-up.
UK – USA – ITALY Trail Scenes – Differences and Similarities?
I don’t really know the UK running scene but from what I have read it seems to be a more spartan and a less protective scene than in Italy.
Fell races and other races that depend on navigational skills would certainly prove challenging for the average Italian trail runner.
The US scene intrigues me. Though I have never had the chance to participate in any races I have had the chance to do some runs on the Oregon Coast Trail, in the Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier National Parks in Washington State and part of the Cutthroat Pass Trail race in the Cascade mountains. My impression was of amazingly smooth trails with long switchbacks where running is a priority rather than the tough climbing and descending which we are used to in Europe.
Extremes of climate (from scorching hot to freezing cold) and challenging altitude (numerous passages above 4000m) would also seem to be a major difference compared to European races.
Who are your Top Italian Male and Female athletes?
I have enormous respect for Marco Olmo who is still running, and winning races, into his mid sixties. Certainly at my age he can serve as a role model for me.
There are many young athletes who are bursting onto the scene and in the last few years we have seen a proliferation of these young guns, both male and female.
If I had to choose two I would probably pick out Silvia Rampazzo and Giulio Ornati but who knows, in 2017 we may suddenly discover some completely new talented runners.
I am however inspired by the majority of runners who I see in every trail race in which I participate. The sense of camaraderie, mutual assistance and encouragement is overwhelming.
Trail running is competition and challenging your personal limits but it is also about doing things together and helping each other.
What’s been your strangest experience whilst running?
That would have to be during the 2011 UTMB. It was during the second night while climbing up through the forest towards Champex Lac. The conditions had been really tough up to then. We had started in rain, we had been snowed on and then freezing winds had buffeted us throughout the traverse through Italy.
The weather became slightly better, but as we made our way up through this dark forest with only the lights of our head torches I began to see cats and dogs crouching among the tress, peering out from under the bushes. Strange, but I guess they could be there.
Then I saw a couple of gnomes. No, these were definitely not real. Sitting down on a log and closing my eyes for 10 minutes seemed to be the best solution!
How about your Bucket List Races?
I don’t really have any bucket list races though I would love to try one of the American Pacific North West races. I have an invitation from Adam Hewey who is the organiser of the Cascades Crest 100 to go there some time so who knows in the future.
I do have a couple of bucket list adventures though. I would like to try the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim and when I finally have the time I’d like to try the Pacific Crest Trail – walking from Mexico to Canada in about 4 to 5 months.
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.