FROM SKYSCRAPERS TO THE PEAKS, THE STORY OF EMANUELE
Emanuele, let's start from the beginning of your career. How did you approach the world of skyrunning?
"It's been many years, I started with the sports group Santi Nuova Olonio, I ran my first youth races when I was 13 years old. Since the beginning it was a game, I owe a lot to my coach Adriano Santi for not stressing me too much with the competitiveness. I raced a lot on the track, cross-country, road and cross-country; in 1992 I was the Italian champion in mountain running but I also did good times in the 3000 steeplechases. Only in 2000, when I joined the Forestry Sports Group, did I start specializing in trail running. The following year I arrived second at the world championships in Arta Terme.
Twenty years later, here you are in SCARPA. And in between, you have become a celebrity in tower running. What do you like about these races in which you start from the sidewalk and get to the top of the building by running at breakneck speed up the stairs?
"Honestly, it helps me combine the useful, which is competing and keeping fit, with the enjoyable, which is travelling. In 30 years, I've travelled halfway around the world. From New York to Osaka, via Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and London. The tallest buildings in the world, icons of the cities of the largest metropolises are my destination. Getting to the top and enjoying the view is incredible. That time on the Empire State Building was crazy."
But having to choose, what terrain do you find yourself in best?
"If I have a leitmotif in my life, it's the love of nature and the mountains. On cross-country races you run on a circuit, you don't immerse yourself in the landscapes as you do on skies or trails. Reaching the top of a mountain gives unparalleled emotions. I'm originally from Cremia, a small village on the shores of Lake Como, but it's no coincidence that I decided to live in Val Camonica. So: I love running in the mountains".
Focusing instead on the sporting exploits that you don't forget, which was the most beautiful race?
"Hard to say. Maybe the one in 2015, on Mount Snowdon in Wales. I had already tried that race in 2001, it's eight kilometres of ascent to the mountain and then down, at breakneck speed, to the village for another eight. In 2001 I had come in second, 14 years later I won. My daughter Adele had been born two weeks before, it was a unique emotion."
By the way, yours is a family of super athletes. Your wife is Valentina Belotti, Italian mountain running captain. Will your daughter follow?
"She definitely likes the active life. She swims, dances, does cross-country and downhill skiing. I think she got that energy from us, seeing mom and dad running must have made her want to do sports. I don't know if she'll follow us, but I still want her to love physical activity. For sure, it helps me to have an athlete as a companion: doing 50 races a year on Sundays, if you don't live in a family of athletes, is not easy to manage".
Also because you also devote a lot of time to your passions, which are always connected to sports.
"Yes, running is everything to me. I was one of the founders of corsainmontagna.it and I still continue to collaborate and keep the website updated. But I am also involved as the organizer of the Valtellina Wine Trail, an event that this year is run on November 20th and that brings thousands of people to the sublime valleys of Nebbiolo. Obviously, these are pastimes, today my job is to supervise as a Carabiniere Forestale in the Stelvio National Park. And that's what I've always wanted to do: take care of nature".
Finally, the last question, the one that only a mature athlete can answer. Is it better to have the exuberance of a young person or the experience of someone who has many, many kilometres on his legs?
"Difficult to answer. I used to do better on short distances, now the mental component helps me on long ones. I can manage my training better, without wanting to overdo it and thus ruining my preparation for the race. And I've learned to alternate the effort: now I often use the bike, I do long hikes and ski mountaineering to keep in shape. Even if the only real thing I've learned in all these years is just one thing. I live (and run) better if I'm immersed in nature".