The Italian Almanac

a sled in the white

Italian News - February 28

An Italian farmer has set off in pursuit of an unprecedented third victory in one of the worlds toughest foot races: 1,730km (1,075 miles) through icy ravines and frozen tundra in Alaska. The Iditarod Trail Invitational, which began on Saturday, follows the course of the Iditarod, a dog-sled race that starts in Anchorage and ends in Nome on the Bering Strait.

Roberto Ghidoni, 52, won the race in 2002 and 2003 and holds the record: 22 days, six hours and six minutes. Last year inflamed leg veins prevented him from making it three wins in a row, but he still triumphed in the shorter, 350-mile version. Alaskans call him the Italian Moose. This year the race follows a slightly different and notoriously tough course, which Ghidoni has never run.

The Italian is hoping that his usual strategy, which is simply to stop as little as possible, will serve him well again. When others bed down in a tent for five or six hours each night, he digs a hole in the snow and has a two-hour nap. He eats a pasta that cooks in two minutes.

Im not faster than the others, I just keep chugging away like a diesel engine, he says. If I sleep too much, the adrenalin goes and then Im in trouble.