Words by Maria E. Bellini
The Show Must Go On – Trail del Cinghiale
An alarming weather forecast of thunderstorms, gales and torrential rain didn’t stop 457 intrepid trail runners standing behind the start line of the Trail del Cinghiale 2017, in Plazzuolo sul Senio – Italy. Thankfully the weather forecast proved slightly off mark, and with only a few showers, slight wind and quite warm temperatures, running conditions turned out to be quite good.
Points Points Points!
Three distances to choose from, two Ultra: 90km with 6000m and 60km with 4000m, plus a less brutal 30km with 2000m – at least the hefty elevation gain was generously rewarded with 5, 4 and 2 UTMB points respectively for finishers. See Rankings below.
The Heart of a Race
The medieval village of Palazzuolo sul Senio provided a magical backdrop for race logistics. The fairytale like location, made up of stone buildings, narrow roads and secretive alleys provided a magical start enhanced by a spectacular display of fireworks accompanying runners at the start.
A looped race route led athletes deep into the surrounding hills. The area, called the Mugello, is quite unique compared to the rest of Tuscany, in that it possesses a more rustic vibe compared to other parts of the region, with deep valleys, vast forests and tall mountains. Virtually uninhabited in parts except for tiny rural dwellings, and historical hamlets. The Trail del Cinghiale’s looped race route means that runners get to pass through Palazzuolo sul Senio between start and finish, and are therefore able to meet family, friends and supporters several times.
A Word with Yakov Frenklakh
We caught up with Yakov Frenklakh who finished 2nd (in 10:52:29) in the 90km. No stranger to ultra running in Italy, Yakov placed 6th at the Trail Sacred Forests 83km earlier this year, and in 2015 came 9th overall in UTLO 90km.
Nurturing a taste for good Italian food and with a penchant for beautiful landscapes, means that Yakov is always on the lookout for a race with a view and … needing to top up his UTMB points in order to enter the 2018 ballot, Yakov settled on the Trail del Cinghiale for the challenge.
We caught up with him, wanting to find out about his highest and lowest points during the race… “I actually felt good during the whole race,” he told us. “Weather wise – in my opinion – the temperature was absolutely perfect! On the race course I didn’t have any serious problems whatsoever, just a minor one with navigation.” And did Yakov manage to do anything post race? “We had a full day in Florence, and then it was back to St. Petersburg. It was a short break!”
The Trials of The Trails
A short break may be what Trail del Cinghiale Race Director Marco Gurioli could be in need of, as just days before the race start, bad weather conditions had completely battered the trails, with the onslaught of unexpected heavy snowfall that had brought down trees and branches, leaving many parts of the trails inaccessible.
Just days before, after a full recce of the race route, the brutal impact of the snowstorm became apparent. Along with a team of volunteers, the race organization Leopodistica and Senio Bike worked their way through over 70km of trails, chainsaws and axes at hand… clearing fallen trees and debris, also having to re-blaze the entire route, many parts of which had to be changed at the last minute. ”We worked day and night for the five days leading up to the race,” said Marco. ”It’s a miracle that we managed to finish on time.”
Having recently completed the Tor Des Geants 2017, Marco Gurioli, perfectly understands “the needs of the runner”. But what was harder… running the Tor Des Geants, or having to re-route a 90km Ultra just hours before it was due to start?
“Honestly, I’d say, due to this years emergency weather crisis leading up to the Trail del Cinghiale, it was less tiring to run the Tor Des Geants! But both experiences were equally satisfying. To be able to share with others, my beloved Apennines, and all those personal corners and places that have a special meaning to me, where I run and train, evokes some really powerful feelings… and to see all the smiles, and be able to look into the eyes of all the trail runners that participate in the Trail del Cinghiale, well, that’s the biggest reward that I could ever wish for.”
Race Results – Trail del Cinghiale
- 1 – Carl Johan Sorman 10:14:23
- 2 – Yakov Frenklakh 10:52:29
- 3 – Luca Guerini 11:43:59
- 1 – Marta Poretti 14:29:51
- 2 – Daniela Billi 16:41:15
- 3 – Mara Toffanin 17:27:24
- 1 – Enrico Bonati 7:04:22
- 2 – Davide Schiaratura 7:06:28
- 3 – Stefano Libardi 7:35:36
- 1 – Michela Urh 7:54:48
- 2 – Giada Golinelli 8:30:50
- 3 – Daniela Montelli 8:33:17
- 1 – Alessio Giancola 2:40:54
- 2 – Gianluca Galeati 2:42:25
- 3 – Enrico Ranallo 2:50:44
- 1 – Antonella Bignardi 3:14:09
- 2 – Milena Pasin 3:25:50
- 3 – Valentina Scheggi 3:48:29
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.