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No running in the Alps for me

The Dutch comedian Harrie Jekkers used to say: ‘Plans only go wrong when they get executed’. Well, today my plan to run in the Alps went wrong. My legs aren’t ready to run again, so I gave them an extra day of rest.

I knew it was a big guess; doing some mountain running a couple of days after the Mighty Marathon, but I wanted to keep the option open. I mean, how often am I in the Alps? Or pre-Alps as they are called here. So I brought a pair of running shoes with me on this trip, together with a pair of shorts. Yet, they will go home unused. The shorts, that is, as I’m walking on the running shoes.


The original plan was to go up to Polentoteca Chalet Gabriele in Bellagio. Sara would go for a walk with her parents and I would go for a run, but my legs suffered too much last Saturday during the muddy Mighty Marathon, so I joined them for a little walk around. Just enough to whet our appetite.

On our way up to Bellagio we stopped at the Madonna del Ghisallo Sanctuary, a little church in Magreglio on top of a big climb that has featured in many cycling races, like the Giro di Lombardia and the Giro D’Italia. The little church is full of cycling relics, like the shirts of Marco Pantani, Paolo Bettini, Mario Cipollini, Miguel Indurain, Elisa Longo Borghini and Hennie Kuiper and the bikes of Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx and many, many more. Of course a painting of the virgin isn’t missing, just like an altar where you can burn a candle.

Cyclist’s Monument

Next to the church is the Cyclist’s Monument, designed and made by the sculptor Elio Ponti. Opposite is the Cycling Museum, founded in 2006 by Fiorenzo Magni. This one is also full of jerseys and bikes throughout the ages. It makes me wonder if there is a trail running museum as well. So far I haven’t found one online.

After an amazing polenta we go for another little walk. One that convinces me I have to come back here to run. The paths are full of roots, but soft at the same time, because of all the pine-needles laying on top of them. There are little springs of the Lambro river flowing by on all sides and even a waterfall drops down a couple of meters. So next time I’m coming here, I’m coming here with fresh legs.

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