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Giancarlo Colombo

juin02

Il Passatore: a race for mad men!

By Giancarlo Colombo, mardi juin 02, 2015
The shadow of 'Passatore' beyond a great rainbow. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens; the exposure was 1/1600sec at f/5.6, ISO 400.

The shadow of 'Passatore' beyond a great rainbow. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM
lens; the exposure was 1/1600sec at f/5.6, ISO 400. © Giancarlo Colombo

Legend has it that midway through the 19th century there was a brigand who worked with companions in Romagna, whose fame became so popular over the years that people idealised his figure and compared him to Robin Hood. 'Il Passatore' was the nickname given to the bandit called Stefano Pelloni. Indeed, he was such a famous man that Giovanni Pascoli (an Italian poet and classical scholar), mentions him in one of his poems. Today il Passatore remains an historical figure of great interest, especially for the people who live in the same areas that he used to.

So popular was his story that a race was named after him: the '100 km del Passatore', an event that is absolutely out of this world! It is a competition which – for the last 43 years – retraces the achievements of this character. The myth tells us that he used to steal from the rich people of Florence and donate the loot to the poor people of Faenza; in fact these are now the start and finish points of the race.

This year, for the 10th time consecutively, the Italian ultramarathoner Giorgio Calcaterra won the race in 7hrs, 8mins and 5secs. However the thing that mostly impressed me was not the finish time or who wanted to participate, but the public reaction around the race layout.

Returning to participate in such a great event as a photographer, after years since I have used to do it as a ‘tapascione’ (a name we use in Italy for people who run for pleasure), excited me in an indescribable way. The magic that characterises it is something that if you are not there, it is difficult to understand.

Many people think that those who run a 100km are crazy and others that they are heroes, but regardless of the judgments of the people the great thing about this race is that it attracts all these people onto the track, in an endless queue of fans and spectators ready to applaud and encourage these madmen who have voluntarily decided to do 100km fuelled only by their willpower and the energy of their legs.

During the race I saw children who looked with shining eyes at participants, elder gentlemen that maybe had already seen other races, a bride with her guests, not to mention the countless volunteers who decided to help out on this great event. Every single person contributed in a personal way to make 'Il Passatore' what it is: a race for mad men! Because deep down we are all a little bit crazy...

Athletes pass in front of Florence Duomo. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF15mm f/2.8L USM Fisheye lens; the exposure was 1/500sec at f/7.1, ISO 400.

Athletes pass in front of Florence Duomo. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF15mm f/2.8L USM Fisheye lens; the exposure was 1/500sec at f/7.1, ISO 400. © Giancarlo Colombo

Giorgio Calcaterra runs on the Marradi streets. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens; the exposure was 1/64sec at f/2.8, ISO 2500. A Speedlite flash was used to light the runner.

Giorgio Calcaterra runs on the Marradi streets. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens; the exposure was 1/64sec at f/2.8, ISO 2500. A Speedlite flash was used to light the runner. © Giancarlo Colombo