Sometimes I think about how lucky I am to live in Genoa, where you can go from the waves of the sea to mountains exposed to the wind. It takes little, it takes very little.
Usually, as a passion, I put on my running shoes and just go. A short walk on the asphalt to then immerse myself in the green of the Granarolo hills just behind my house. A steep ascent takes me up high where I can immediately observe, with slight smugness, the football pitch at the bottom of the valley of Lagaccio, and think that my sport, trail running, is something more, something which needs to be tried.
I observe the children who run on the synthetic grass and their parents who are getting worked up about finding the parking space which is closest to the entrance to the pitch… hmm, but that’s another story.
I continue to climb the paths recently re-carved out by local bikers with whom I share a trail which has been made with obsessive precision.
I cross a wall which was once a defensive barrier for the military in Genoa. I find myself on the watershed of the Ligurian Apennine, on paths linking the hinterland.
I certainly have heavy breaths, I feel tired, but this land gives you nothing, you need to earn the spectacles it offers, you need to feel them inside you and understand that nothing comes easily.
Every drop of sweat which falls from me and comes into contact with the path will be part of it forever, a little invisible trace that falls to the ground like a raindrop.
Now I am one with my land and part of a bigger system.
I continue immersed in my ancestral thoughts, I follow the most impervious tracks, after everything it is my discipline which makes me. I am certainly not careless about where to put my next step. The footstep should be sturdy but at the same time light and calm, stiffness is paid for by a fall. Movements should be fluid, natural, like water which flows in streams, it leaps and cavorts but never stops, always reaching the river mouth.
Every stone is trodden on with knowledge, with respect. Sometimes I feel like I can hear words in their ‘cracking’ under the weight of my steps. I reach the summit of Monte Diamante where the fort of the same name stands in unnatural greenery given the late summer season.
In reality much less poetry exists when I feel the weight of my kilometres, but I have a greater understanding that all this effort is always repaid by a unique sensation. What price does all this have? The cost of a pair of running shoes? Suitable clothing which does not cause abrasions or inconvenience which prevents the continuation of training? No… not material things, obviously behind all this there’s more, internal rather than external enrichment.
My body is perfectly adapted to the pains of the discipline, revealing my face, toning muscle fibres. By now the mountain run is within me, it’s almost indispensable for my own serenity and that of my loved ones.
I always return satisfied from my trip; it’s due to the effect of the endorphins on the run, but I don’t believe much in the chemical produced in my body when compared with the perception of the good feelings I get every time I go out for a run. I like to think it’s all based on something else.
On my arrival people observe me with curiosity, asking themselves where I could’ve come from so sweaty but with a smile on my face…well, I could reply without hesitation, but it’s better to remain quiet as they wouldn’t understand or rather comprehend that a stone’s throw from home they have a world to discover compared to their constant search for a never adequate convenience. But this difference is also nice… we’re not all exactly the same!! Once I was like them but we can all change, you just need to want to!
Watch the video The Perfect Shot – Genoa from ‘Turismo in Liguria’ on YouTube.