Marathon running just isn’t my thing. The idea of pounding the roads when I could be relaxing with a glass of “vino” just doesn’t appeal. I am not deaf to Michelle Obama’s cry that we all need to be fit but prefer to get my exercise by taking her alternative option of tilling the soil and believe me when you have terraced land like mine that keeps you in trim. Despite this I look jealously at a friend’s legs, who is a marathon enthusiast and will travel to London, New York for the weekend to run. I would love to have that perfect muscular line on her thigh and yes she makes me feel slothful and undisciplined.
This weekend therefore I felt honour bound to roll out of bed early on Sunday morning. Bleary eyed I pulled on the nearest pair of jeans and without makeup but of course behind my Burka (oversized sunglasses) stumbled to the Starting point of the third Lucca Marathon to show support.
The weather conditions were perfect, fine but cool. The Lucca marathon is highly professional despite the almost carnival atmosphere and all the contestants have a microchip in the vest for the timing. I assume this is standard practice but I was very impressed. The start of the race was accompanied very appropriately by the band of the Bersaglieri troops who are famous because they play and run at the same time while the plumes on their helmets stream behind them. This must be one of the most scenic marathons. The runners circulate Lucca’s 16th century Renaissance walls, run through the old town and the wonderful surrounding countryside.
The marathon was used to spread the message to all the family about the joys of exercise and a short family run involving children of all ages was arranged with the famous Italian mouse “Geronimo Stilton” though one feels that “Geronimo Parmigiano / Parmesan” would be a more suitable name. Even this health promoting incentive did not lack that vital Italian ingredient of “la merenda” the snack and focaccia and tarts were on offer to the children, not too certain about the health benefits! The previous day the dogs and their owners had a chance to join in the fun with a brisk walk around the walls.
This event brought a festive atmosphere to the city and made exercise fun. I am certain Michele Obama would have approved.