Let's start with the warm-up. In three words, can you describe the feeling of being in the Kona race five times?
I would say heat, wind, and heat again. I am kidding. The race has an incredible appeal, although the course is somewhat plain, and some of the athletes had questionable egos.
Even three or four days before the race, the people's excitement in Kailua-Kona was magical. It's also very emotional at the end when you go through the finish line and are completely worn-out. I also experienced a feeling of loneliness, but it didn't last too long, just up until the speaker announced loudly, in a perfect American style, that "You are an ironman!".
Okay, so one day you woke up and told yourself: I will start Swimrun today and I am going to get on the podium in Engadina. What made you decide to start Swimrun?
It was the beginning of 2015 when I saw an ad announcing the Engadina swimrun on Facebook. A few days later, I met Jean Marc Cattori at the pool. I asked him, "How would you feel if we went back to racing and competed as a team in a strange race in the Grigioni mountains?" We ended up on a waiting list, but after a few weeks we got the confirmation that we were in.
You participated in many swimrun races and you have won many times. I always say that swimrun is pure freedom; that there are no geographic or mental borders and that it's an ongoing emotion. When the land ends you swim, when the water ends you run and so on. Do you feel the same way? What is Swimrun to you?
The spirit of these races is really like you say, pure freedom. You just need to overcome the idea of swimming with your shoes. I believe that the triathlon was like that when it started, but then they changed it. In Swimrun there is something more, an additional component, it's like an adventure. You have the incognito of the course and gain a deep relationship with the surrounding nature. I truly hope that this spirit will never change.
I’ve known you for a few years now, and I noticed that your heart and passion is your daily fuel. Do you also live in your emotions?
Yes, I do and sometimes I get a bit too carried away in my emotions. They can be tricky. Emotional people have a hard time overcoming delusions and for most, food is an easy refuge from their pain. If I had been more strict with my eating habits, I would have had better results in my sport career.
Do you ever find yourself thinking about what you do and how you do it? Many people that know you see you as a special person.
Once, when I was in Kona, I started to wonder what I was doing there, so at the first sign of a backache I put my bike down, and sat on the ground to look at the ocean. Behind my back, there were hundreds of bikes passing me. Looking back to that makes me smile, but back then, a few tears streaked my face.
Tell me something about your typical day; about your athletes and how you infect them with sport.
My main job is teaching part-time. This allows me to also spend some time coaching, as well as being a journalist for sports.
In regard of my athletes, it’s safe to say that they are the ones infecting me with their enthusiasm. Some of them are completely mad; and I mean that in a very affectionate way, so at the end of the day, I think that we just push each other.
Tell me about the Bad Boys Ticino in Engadina, and how hard that was.
Our debut came through improvised training.It was based on some technical information we had found on Youtube. Just a few hours before the start of the race, we were still dealing with the elastics and gluing our pull buoys on. Because of the altitude we started somewhat slow, then around half way into the course we sped up. By three quarters of the race we were well ahead of the Swimrun's "masters", who, for the moment are all north European. The altitude and swimming parts turned out to be our strengths, but because of the cold during the last long swimming fraction, we lost our spot within 1 kilometer and were passed by another team.
It felt like we won, even though we were second on the podium.
You have attended many Swimrun races, and I would love to know your honest thoughts about the steep tracks you experienced during the Swimrun Cheers in Stresa.
At the last edition of Swimrun Cheers, I had to quit right at the beginning of the biggest hill because I made the stupid mistake of drinking condensed milk for breakfast. I will only say that the Red Cross volunteers showed up holding some toilet paper. I’ll spare you by not going into the details ;)
What do you think of our Swimruns in our lake and woods?
Running through historical villas, botanical gardens, and peacocks is truly amazing. The scenery is breathtaking. Swimming in the middle of Maggiore Lake is an extraordinary feeling and thanks to your own adrenaline, but also the volunteers on the boats around you, you feel fearless. The long run to Mergozzo lake is also incredible, although the steepness of the hills is hard on your legs - but nobody will push you. Running up there isn’t mandatory! Finally, as the cherry on top, you have the wonderful prize of a good artisan beer once you reach the end of the race. The water here is a metaphor for friendship, it brings you together.
I will end this here, and I wish to see you soon and of course ...Cheers!