Francesca Canepa

UTMB 2018 in 26h03'48"

Francesca Canepa, born 14 September 1971, in 2010 she became sky runner and trail runner at the age of 40.

francesca Canepa

Francesca Canepa

Francesca Canepa has just won the UTMB with a time of 26h03'48" becoming the first Italian to take home the tour of Mont Blanc. The curriculum of francesca Canepa does not end here, however, this is only the last of his career victories. His palmares are in fact full of medals and prestigious races like two Tor des Géants, the Hong Kong 100, the Eiger Ultra Trail, the Transgrancanaria, Cappadocia Ultra Trail and with these many other circuits completed in the first position of the race.

The Inteview

Francesca, what brought you to this discipline?

Mostly the case. I had experienced a cross-country ski race without being a cross-country skipper, I wanted to see what the body feels to do certain distances. Testing I found myself well and I participated in a race that I completed very well. That's why I decided to take lessons to try my hand at this sport. During the training for the fund was then the teacher to suggest the race. Immediately I gave up because the practice has never interested me so much, it bored me and I did not want to. In May, however, I agreed to do a running lesson which was followed by a race, a 26 kilometers that I completed without knowing anything about training, strategy. I did not know anything about the race. The following week I chose to experiment with the Geneva marathon that I ran without any kind of preparation. I had only read a lot of theory, but I did not have a special preparation for 42 kilometers of running. Despite this, however, I completed the race in 3 hours and 29 minutes.

You can say that you have a natural talent for running ...

Yes, for this after the disappointments in snowboarding, discipline with which (on paper) I should have participated in two Olympics, I then decided to leave it to devote myself to the race. At first I did not like it that much, I went because it was easy for me to run. In 2011 the real spark exploded thanks to a friend who registered me in all the races up to 100 kilometers. When I started to try my hand at these distances, I started to find the most interesting discipline because the more I went on the longer it became easy. Also in this year I had the first international hit and then in 2012 I arrived second at the UTMB and then there were the two victories at the Tor.

What fascinates you about the race?

The fact that each ultra is different from the other, that each has its difficulties and complications. I really like this aspect because I consider running as a natural laboratory, en plein air. It fascinates me very much, from an experimental psychologist, to observe the cause and effect of everything. Study the variables that affect or do not affect the final result. It could be said that this is also my motivation.

As a child, however, did you dream of dancing at the Scala in Milan?

Yes, because I lived in Milan, in Corso Venezia, and I had done a school that was preparing for La Scala. Then, when my mother moved to Courmayeur, the thing was lost.

In all the sports you've been dedicated to, you've always succeeded with excellent results...

Let's say that I have always chosen the fields where I thought I could succeed better. For my nature I do not like to waste time and energy, when I get close to something because I feel the desire to do it in my body, if I try to make a commitment. I always try to get inspired by worthy characters.

For Example?

Deborah Compagnoni was my inspiration in the period when I was snowboarding and with her also Stefania Belmondo. Della Belmondo remember how it was yesterday when he broke the pole in Salt Lake City, a thing out of the world. I tried to take the best from all those who inspired me.

Besides being an athlete you are also a mother, how do you reconcile the two?

Having two children I have some more constraints. For me now it's all a bit more complicated to handle, especially when invitations to races and events come to me. Events to which I would like to participate, but of course I know that my boys need to have me by their side. With training, however, I have no problems, both because I train a little, and because I'm growing them in order to make them very autonomous.

Will you keep running?

Being an athlete from birth I do not see what else I could do (laughs). I express myself well through sport and if I can inspire someone through this practice I can only be happy. Obviously I will continue to run, before leaving I would like to try to win the New York marathon in the woman 70 category.

Some photos by Nicolò Balzani

francesca Canepa

Francesca Canepa | ph: Nicolò Balzani

francesca Canepa

Francesca Canepa | ph: Nicolò Balzani

"LUPO BIANCO NEL VENTO

Mi piace questa foto perché senza essere niente di speciale, non ci sono panorami da vedere, sono vestita di nero e pure un filo lontana, riesce ad essere intensa. Riassume perfettamente chi sono. Lupo bianco. Nessuno intorno a me. Solo io e il vento. Un po’ come sono stati questi ultimi anni nella corsa. Solo io e il vento. Qui sono in cima al col Ferret, 110 km percorsi e circa 60 ancora da fare. Avevo promesso al Monte Bianco che non mi sarei arresa, che non avrei rinunciato, e sono stata di parola. Non importava se avesse mandato vento, pioggia o grandine. Avevo promesso. Così come sempre, silenziosamente ho continuato a seguire il sentiero. Mi piace anche il concetto di seguire un sentiero. Porta sempre da qualche parte, se non ti arrendi".

francesca Canepa

Francesca Canepa | ph: Nicolò Balzani

francesca Canepa

Francesca Canepa | ph: Nicolò Balzani


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