A burn-up around the streets of Castelbuono
I travelled to Sicily to collect an award and to take part in one of the world's oldest road races
I wasn’t sure how much to warm up. It was 35C (95F), so I didn’t literally need warming up. But I was going to be running 5K, which meant a start fast enough to jar legs that hadn’t already done some moving. Italian men and women were jogging around, doing short sprints along the narrow, shaded streets of this small hillside town in Sicily. Maybe I should do some too.
I was here to collect a journalism award as part of the Giro di Castelbuono, an internationally famous road race that has been going on since 1912, making it one of the world’s oldest road races. It’s an elite-only race of around 25 men, including, this year, superstars like double world 5,000m champion Muktar Edris, the Kenyan Edward Zakayo, Britain’s most in-form road runner, Emile Cairess, and all the very best Italians, including Iliass Aouani, who recently set the Italian marathon record of 2:07.
Of course, I wasn’t going to be racing those guys. Before the main event there was what they called the “vintage” 5K race, and after doing a number of bureaucratic somersaults - getting myself a certified medical form, re-joining England Athletics and buying something called a RunCard - all prerequisites for running in the race - I had a place on the startline.
I had no idea what the level was going to be, and I was worried it was going to be all former elite runners who had taken part the main race in the past. So it was with some relief that I saw a few slightly less-than-svelte people limbering up, and a few that were older than me. Hopefully I wouldn’t finish last, at least.
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