Today is another holiday in Italy, Festa della Liberazione, the day that World War II ended in Italy. For many Italians this holiday started last week-end and will continue through the next holiday which is Festa del Lavoro on May 1st. This morning there was a small military ceremony in front of the Provincia offices but the big event for me was the 33rd Maratonina Cento Torri.
I try to run a couple kilometers three days a week here in the centro storico and one of the clerks at the local supermercato sees me as I go by their store. There has been talk about running several times when we go there for groceries, and about two weeks ago he mentioned there would be a marathon on April 25th. There would be two races, a 7 kilometer run, which I participated in, and a 21 kilometer marathon – no thanks.
We have previously met Mara and Peter who are from New Hampshire; Mara is a professor at the University of New Hampshire program here in Ascoli Piceno. Last night we had dinner with them and mentioned the race today. Mara’s eyes lit up and she said she would be there; Peter offered to join Valerie for a caffe with the other spectators.
So this morning just after 9:15 AM about 200 people gathered in Piazza del Popolo and we set off together, Mara and I. I usually do not run 7 kilometers so this was a little test and the 3 or 4 hills the course traversed did not help, but I finished in what I would consider a respectable time (no I won’t say). Mara came in a few minutes behind me. At the finish line in Piazza Arringo there were booths set up dishing out the usual goodies for participants. However, in Italy there must be the correct food associated with every event; mortadella panini, water and of course caffe’ with optional corretto. Wanting to take in the full maratonina italiano experience I enjoyed my mortadella panino, lots of water and finished it off with a caffe including a splash of anisetta.
This is a day I will fully appreciate the Italian tradition of riposo.
*The photo of the victorious runners (Bryan & Mara) was provided by Mara's husband, Peter.