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Like Us: Francesco Puppi and Cesare Maestri running to Cima Tosa

There is a mountain 3173 m high, the second highest peak in the Brenta Dolomites, called Cima Tosa. From Madonna di Campiglio, more precisely from Piazza Sissi, it takes 15.5 km to reach the summit, with an actually difference in altitude of 2143 m. Someone with an average level of training would take about 4h15’ to climb to the top. There are, however, two guys, a physicist and an engineer, that looking at this peak have thought of much more than climbing it simply by walking.

Francesco Puppi and Cesare Maestri are part of the Italian Mountain Running National Team and, not so long ago, they respectively won two silver medals at the World Championships in Villa La Angostura, Patagonia. They feel ready. A lot of races have been canceled this year and a great challenge is what they need to regain the desire to train. This is their chance.

Choosing this trail has not been accidental: these areas, in the middle of the Brenta peaks, is where Cesare was born as a trail runner. And he still trains here every day.

The two studied the route carefully, thanks also to the collaboration of Nike Trail and Campiglio Dolomiti, so, one day, they decided that on this mountain they would chase a record.

6 am wake up a call, a good breakfast and they’re ready to go. Although the start of the race has been pre-set for 8.30, Francesco and Cesare were already in the city center having a coffee an hour prior the start, evaluating together if everything was ready and repeating each other the various steps in case something had been forgotten. Nothing is missing, theta’s for sure, and they have been trained in the right way, they just have to score this new record!

Time flies and it’s already 8.30 am. Now all what is left to do is running for 31km. “First you have to get to the top” says Francesco “and then go down”. The descent does not seem a problem, on the contrary, once you’ve passed the most difficult points of the climb seems the most simple part.

They start running on 4 km of asphalt, up to the Vallesinella refuge. This first part looks simple for the two athletes, they’ve been trained for this type of not so steep terrain and the road flows smoothly under their feet. Immediately afterwards, they energetically face a steeper climb with many steps towards the Casinei refuge. The difficult part, however, has yet to arrive. Continuing to speed up, they cross a wood and run along the gravel path. Some snow starts to appear, but without great difficulty the two reach the Brentei refuge with a partial time trial of 51’00”.

There comes the most technical part: the last climb to the top. Francesco and Cesare continue undaunted to run towards the Bocca del Brenta up to the Pedrotti refuge. There are some snowfields here that give the two some difficulties, but despite this the runners do not stop. Before starting to run, they confessed that their only concern would be the snow, yet they decided to face it as if it were an extra stimulus to conquer the route with the most energy possible, trying to overcome every difficulty in the best way.

The last remaining challenge before reaching the top is a 50 m climb. But even this part runs smoothly, thanks also to the collaboration of the Campiglio guides who mounted the safety ropes. Finally they reach the top. In just two hours.

They only have to go down now. Snow doesn’t seem to be the best terrain to run on and Francesco’s fall is the proof, nothing serious anyway, he immediately gets up and the two start running again, not at all restrained by the small inconvenience. They will tell us later that this is what makes running in the mountains beautiful: “We encounter terrains that are not always what we expect or on which we are stronger. But that’s the beauty: running fast on any type of terrain.”

During the descent, despite the 28km trail, in the final part towards Madonna di Campiglio they had an average speed of 18km/h. The day before, someone asked, “How long it will going to take you?” Francesco guessed: “I believe 3h40’”, but in the end they will reach Piazza Sissi in 3h28’26”. “We didn’t take for granted that everything would have gone well, but in the end we achieved our goal. We have to thank Nike Trail and Campiglio Dolomiti for the support they have given to us. It was a great challenge and we are happy with the result” they confessed.

We took this opportunity to ask Francesco and Cesare how running with the new Nike Pegasus Trail 2 has been. They defined it as the most versatile shoe ever produced by Nike Trail, a sort of Vaporfly that can be used in the mountains. It is a stable and protective model, which gives a secure support, while the tread guarantees perfect grip on any terrain. Cesare continues: “The model allows you to always sprint and that’s a positive feature for athletes like us” while Francesco adds: “An excellent shoe for long-distance competitions and technical terrains.”

Nike Pegasus Trail 2: they defined it as the most versatile shoe ever produced by Nike Trail, a sort of Vaporfly that can be used in the mountains. It is a stable and protective model, which gives a secure support, while the tread guarantees perfect grip on any terrain. Cesare continues: “The model allows you to always sprint and that’s a positive feature for athletes like us” while Francesco adds: “An excellent shoe for long-distance competitions and technical terrains.”

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