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World Cup Preview Part Two: Chiavenna Lagunc

This year we welcome an old favourite back to the World Cup – Chiavenna Lagunc. On 10th October runners will head to the very north of Italy to take part in this short uphill race, starting in the historic old town of Chiavenna and finishing in Lagunc.

 So what makes Chiavenna Lagunc so special? It would be hard to find a town that’s so steeped in mountain running history and tradition. For a start, this small town (population 7,200) has not one but two mountain running clubs. And the track which winds up from Chiavenna at 352 metres to Lagunc at 1352 metres was actually the world’s first official, certified vertical kilometre. Both the men’s and women’s world records for the vertical kilometre were set there – Bernard De Matteis’s 30’27” and Andrew Mayr’s 35’40”. Add to that the fact that the area hosted the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships and you get the idea about this region’s obsession with mountain running and its part in the history.

If you look at the race’s website it gives you a real sense of how this race has evolved without losing its unique sense of identity. Look at the results and you’ll find some handwritten and typed pages from years gone by, which look like they might one day feature in a Chiavenna Lagunc museum. And if you read through the results it’s like a ‘who’s who’ of top mountain runners. Bernard and Martin De Matteis, Valentina Bellotti, Johan Bugge and Antonella Confortola all feature more than once.

Stroll around town and you’re likely to meet some legends of mountain running and not just on race weekend! 2019 Mountain Running World Champion Master 50 , Dario Martocchi, lives in the area and 6 time World Mountain Running Champion, Marco Di Gasperi, has long been a friend of the race.

We’re asking all our races this year about what they’re doing to promote sustainability. Chiavenna Lagunc is quite unique in this regard as it’s part of the ‘orange flags’ initiative, which recognises its sensitivity to sustainability. The ‘orange flag’ status is awarded to towns which preserve their historical areas and also make their architectural, artistic and naturalistic resources accessible to and usable by the people. Essentially it celebrates uniqueness and preservation.

As well as the short uphill race there’s also a series of trail race in the area (Val Bregaglia Trail), so you can experience the stunning trails at a slightly less relentlessly uphill gradient. This could be your introduction to mountain running.

If you’ve been missing going on holiday (and travel is allowed again by then) then book a few days round the race. It takes place within easy reach of Lake Como, Madesimo, Alpe Motta, Splugen Pass, Val Bregaglia, and even St Moritz. Or just spend a few days in historic Chiavenna enjoying the local produce!

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