Morenic Trail, Turino, Italy, 110km 2280Meters

Posted by on 12 October, 2012
This post was filed in Mtn Running, Race Reports and has 1 comment so far

Having had to withdraw from the Wicklow Round this year at the end of May, the Morenic Trail was the only other UTMB 3 Pt Race that I could fit in this year. After the Wicklow Round it was time to get ready for the 5 day expedition Terrex Adventure race in Sterling at the end of August. Giving a month to recover for this one. A week in San Francisco with work meant flying home flying on Friday morning with little sleep and flying out that afternoon at 4:00pm. Arriving in Milan it took along time to pick up a car-rental which meant 10:30pm arrival in a hotel that didn’t serve food. So I needed to find a restaurant that would feed 4 hungry grumpy birds, 2 of them under the age of 3 :-) . As a result my girls hadn’t a notion of sleeping so it was 2:00am before I managed it with an early rise at 6:30am. So Jetlagged a wee bit and not a whole lot of sleep we headed to the start line following the Sat Nav to Andrate. It was  20 minute drive, up very narrow hills, roads. As we arrived into a tiny Italian Village we were greeted by around 200 runners on a startline with a countdown in Progress !!! Shite !!! I jumped out of the car still moving bag in hand, luckily packed from the night before and ran towards the start line. The road was blocked so I had to worm my way through the start as they hit 10,9, 8 (in Italian) and just let the crowd go as I looked to see where the registration was to be. The race had started an hour earlier than previously advertised and my brain was racing as I tried to see who was the race organiser and who would get me registered quickly. I just shouted Numero Numero Numero as I pointed at my chest at the guy who was doing the countdown. To be fair he clicked immediate what was going on and grabbed my arm in the direction of the lady who had the numbers. 2 Pins was going to do it, again my arm was grabbed and we started to run after the race, I tied my bag as we went into a full sprint to catch the race.

We ran until I saw two Mountain bikes which were sweepers with Medic packs and it was time to start the race, I was breathing and tried to ease a little as people were shouting at me and making slow down gestures with their hands. I was running at Tempo uphill as we climbed up to 937m and then eased as we moved onto single track Trail. The trail was very dry but it was narrow, difficult to pass and it was very rocky so you really had to mind your step. This was pretty continuous for a lot of the day except it widened in parts breaking into fireroad. Watching your feet was a constant. The first section I knew was going to be easier going as in there was a lot of downhill over the first 21KM. Coming from the back of the field I was passing people which is great to keep you ticking along. The downhill was very gradual and it was very difficult to judge how fast you are going. People talked to me as I passed or were talking around me in small groups of people who were running together. I took out my phone on a climb to txt Trish to say, I was ok probably had lost 5-10 minutes but it was nothing in what was going to be a long long day.

In the first section it eventually around the 18km mark ran us down through the Vineyards to a huge lake, this was a feed point but also a crossover for those who were doing relay. The atmosphere was fantastic as they cheered us along to the transition. Your name was on your running number so they called you by name which was nice. I wore my Salmon pack with 2 bottles on the front and no bladder. I hadn’t taken any water on at this time as I hadn’t time to fill with the sudden start so I filled both bottles dropped it NUNS, handful of raisins and chocolate and moved on. I spied the coke but skipped it on this occasion as I was conscious of getting the water in and didn’t want the caffeine lift to make me forget this. It was now 10:00am as we moved onto the second section.

The second section was a lot more lively, sharp short climbs and sharp short rocky descents and then it would roll up over long stretches of rocky fireroad. I had a printout of the routebook with me and lucky I had printed it to 1 page as I needed to see the distances and the climbs that were approaching as my Ultra Running Italian was limited. It wasn’t too long before we crossed the picturesque village of Sweater with its decorated houses, and then touch the lakes and Moncrivello Sweater, before passing to the Shrine of Miralta before falling to bridge Baltea. Around the 40km Mark I was getting very hot, the trail is designed so that they pull you back out to the road for the feed points. I knew there was one here and I needed it as I was totally out of water and pretty weak as a result counting my steps to distract myself away I started to dehydrate from what felt from the inside out. I filled the bottles with water and got a High five in 1 and then Zeros in the other and hoped it would be enough. As we passed the 1:00pm mark I was starting to cook and had to slow a lot at the 50km mark. With 7km to the halfway mark I had no choice but to take the rest of my liquids apart from a few drizzles on board. The sun wasn’t helping and I had slowed to a walk for a few seconds run for a few minutes on the flat. It took for ever to get to the halfway point I lined up 8 cups of water and sat down. I needed to hydrate and eat properly and took my time as I drank all the water, took a Gel and filled my bottles, water and Zeros again. I txt Trish saying I had hit the half way mark and with 6 hours down it was looking like I would make 12:00pm but I had slowed down a lot. Picked my very very tight legs up and shuffled up the road. I was happy to have hit halfway and started the countdown in my head. If I was to run it again I would skip this point as there is a big food point with Pasta 10km further up the trail.

Section 3: Surprisingly my legs came back, I felt much better and the hard climb at the 67km Mark in the sun was no problem. I sat with 3 cups of Coke and had a bowl of pasta. At the next feed station 77km I wasn’t planning to stop but Trish, JT and Jules were there. That was all I needed to lift me through the rest of the race, It lifted me through the forests as it started to get dark. The harder climbs were to come but I was also conscious that darkness was coming and I wanted to finish the section taking to me to 92km before it got dark. The 3rd section was undulating hard rocky terrain again. There were even some warning signs at the top of some of the descents the trenches and rocks were a bit like the descent off Maulin, but not as runnable with the rocks ridged rather than moving. As it got dark this terrain was getting tough to run and the legs and brain and Torch were having to concentrate hard to keep speaking to one another. The descents weren’t going as quick as they were on the bright and the climbs were a welcome sight. It was difficult to see the markings so the junctions were slow work. Eventually I got to section 92km that was a candle lit bridge crossing, it was very cool and what was even cooler was that I was now only 18km from the finish and it was only 8:00pm. I thought I might make 11:00PM but wasn’t sure on how hard the climbs were.

Section 4 began with a long walk from 150 Meters backup to around 625km, it was steep but really long and made me wonder how long it was going to take. As we moved onto trail it moved faster. I was joined by another 2 runners. They spoke as we slowly climbed. It had taken 95km before someone had spoken to me and all I could say in Italian was – sorry I don’t speak Italian I am Irish. The girl just smiled the guy spoke. They had only completed half the race but we moved well together. We chatted a wee bit and after a while as we climbed higher they started to slow so I bid them farewell. As I broke on to a junction I couldn’t find the marker so I met them again around 10 minutes later. We spread out to find a marker and I eventually found a red tape about 200meters up off one junction of the cross road. They told me go on and I ran on alone starting to worry about the next junction. It was the same problem at the next V junction. No markings again it was 150meters down past the junction, the second one I looked down of course. I reckon these would have been seen easily in the bright but now it was becoming difficult. I hit the last transition and just drank a coke as I asked in Italian how far was it now. 3 people babbled at me, hadn’t a clue what they were saying as I held up my fingers and asked again how many kilometres in Italian. 6km, how long will it take me to run. They told me 50 minutes to an hour. It was 10:00pm. The legs were painless now apart from my toes, I could feel the nails had been moved slightly but going well considering. The shuffle in the dark was back on and it was only going to be another hour. I had enough water taken on and began to reflect on the race I was going to complete, the 3 points for UTMB ad trying to imagine the finish and hope there wasn’t a really steep climb. I climbed, I walked and then ran as we started to contour around the mountain again another junction with no markings. This time a tarmac road was the correct route which was a sign we were approaching a transition except this time it was the finish. It was another climb up to a village on a hill. We could see it 2 km away, which wasn’t great as you could see the climb. I passed 2 people on the final climb as I was running as I knew it was the last 2km. The 2 people came with me and we shuffled our way in the direction of the church steeple. As we neared we were directed to a set of lights where we were asked to dip our hands in Red Paint and then put the paint on our faces, symbolising fire or something and from there it was a run in the direction of the music. I was pretty nervous of making another wrong turn, but eventually I saw it. The great big red Gantry – and lights and music and people dancing. There was a wee festival in full swing. It was 10:50 and I crossed the finish line. The man who had grabbed my hand and ran with me to find the race earlier that day was there to meet me. MicroPhone in hand he started to speak to me in Italian. Fantastico!! super!! He talked more, I was clueless, I said I am Irish, got a big cheer and then Franco came grabbed the microphone and spoke to me in English. My legs began to cease and I found a seat where wine and food were almost instantly placed in my hand.   In my rush to the start I hadn’t transferred a kit bag to the Finish so froze for the next 2 hours.. lucky I had my space blanket to stuff inside my

For anyone looking for 3 UTMB points I would recommend this race. Its easily finished at a reasonable pace within the asking time of 24hours. Its dry trail, but rocky,  well marked, feed points are well stocked and great support along the way. Unlike the wicklow round, that is not so much trail at the beginning has 3000meters more climb, no support, not marked at all as you need to Nav and you have to rely on people being at pre-agreed stops aswell as not meeting too many other people on the day. It still doesn’t take from it been a great Ultra with nice scenery, food and warmth !!! I would definitely recommend it.


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One Comment on “Morenic Trail, Turino, Italy, 110km 2280Meters”

  • Mary McBride
    13 October, 2012, 4:30

    Great run Richard, sounds like it was really tough, especially the heat.  Fantastic job

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