Valgrosina Trail: Edition Zero gets a resounding 10/10!
All races have to start somewhere, and the Valgrosina Trail decided to kick off proceedings with an Edition Zero test run, held in August 2021.
After a night of heavy rainfall, 10 intrepid run-testers embarked on the Long Distance 70 km route to give it a final once-over before the race was officially launched. Here’s what happened:
The course is best described as full immersion in the mountains: Taking the runners through truly spectacular scenery, it allows athletes to soak up the unique beauty of locations such as Cigoz, Redasco, Eita, Passo Vermulera, Val di Sacco, Biancadino and Diga Vecchia (or the Old Dam), all deep in the heart of Val Grosina, before whisking them back downhill to the starting point in the centre of Grosio.
The ten test runners embraced a long and fatiguing day under the beating sun. The previous night’s rain made conditions tough underfoot, with muddy climbs and descents to contend with. While everyone predicted that the route would be a tough one, the official timing confirmed this with the first athlete finishing in 8h37’. After 70 KM with 5,000 metres of climbing, our Edition Zero athletes crossed the line with equal parts elation, equal parts exhaustion.
From that moment on, back in August 2021, all thoughts turned to the inaugural edition with the date set for Saturday, 6 August 2022.
One of the standout Edition Zero athletes testing this new race route was 6-time Mountain Running World Champion and Valtellina local Marco De Gasperi: ‘It was the perfect edition zero of the race. The route offers so many amazing elements that keep athletes interested. There are no boring or pointless sections, which is super rare in a race of this distance, where you’re often faced with monotonous sections that can cause mental fatigue to set in. Fortunately, this route has such diverse and varied terrain—it’s like a real ultra should be! I think it is destined to become a mid-summer classic.’
At the finish in Grosio, the local Team Asics runner Luca Guglielmetti from Como sang the praises of the race and organisation: ‘I love off-road running in the mountains, but rarely have I seen a valley that is as beautiful and breathtaking as Valgrosina. There is no denying that this is a tough race. While the mud definitely added to the challenge, that is what makes ultras such a hit with well-trained runners who appreciate running on the most amazing mountain trails. My verdict? More than positive. I love the route and would give the organisers 10 out of 10. The route markings and feed stations were spot on. Being cheered on by the locals along the route made it an even better experience.’
The Lecco-born Luca Vassena, sponsored by Bv Sport, echoed their sentiments: ‘Beautiful and hard from the word ‘go’. The route starts with a 1,400 metre climb that’s broken up by two plateaus. These lead you to sections in the middle of the route that are super technical, verging on skyrace-style. You need to pace yourself because the second part is much more runnable. Those who have gone out too hard will pay a big price on the final descent. Not only is the route spectacular, but so is the top-level organisation and impeccable feed stations, which sets this race up to become a huge success.’
What more is there to say other than mark Saturday, August 6, 2022, in your diary and wait for entries to open…