From the sea, or rather from the lagoon, to the mountains: fresh air, so let’s warm up our muscles to tackle the Primiero Dolomiti Marathon.
Having left the waters of the Venice lagoon behind, we move up the Brenta river, the historical summer vacation area for the rich Venetian noble families during the Serenissima republic, then the Cismon and Canali waters to reach the heart of the Dolomites for another important challenge: the beautiful course prepared by VeniceMarathon Club and U.S. Primiero for the event.
The 42K course starts at Villa Welsperg, inside the Paneveggio / Pale di San Martino Natural Park, and you’ll find yourself in a magic environment where the slow pace of the past, lost in most places, is still alive. You can find mountain shacks where families continue the same old mountain routine of their ancestors through the centuries, despite a strong emigration to lower lands at the start of the past century.
An example is the nearby Malga Canali where owner Gina has been running a warm hospitality for over 40 years as one of the forerunners of agricultural tourism. Its a place where climbers, trail runners, trekking lovers or just those seeking a genuine cucine can find warm hospitality. In these days she is preparing to step back and leave the whole business to her daughters to continue the family tradition.
The course runs uphill along the Cismon river, through the woods which landmark the magnificent panorama of the Pale di San Martino mountains. It is a combination of several peaks, with a vast degree of difficulties which have attracted generations of climbers over the past two centuries. “Pala” is meant, in the local jargon, for the vast meadows which surround these mountains at the base which provide nutrition for the herds in the area.
We continue up north to the town of San Martino di Castrozza, to turn back down the right side of the valley. One must balance personal energies because there are downhill stretches, but they come after an uphill climb, and not always so soon.
*Stories by run is a weekly column written by Venice by Run for the VMC – Venice Marathon Club events magazine.