The Italian Almanac

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Battista Marchesi

A Seasoned Runner

A 70-year-old Italian man is on pace to set a world record for long-distance running over a sustained period of time. Battista Marchesi, known locally as Tista, will have run for 239 straight days, covering 19,100 kilometers with an average of 80 kilometers per day, if he continues his pace. Marchesi began his epic run on March, jogging up and down the moutainous terrain at the foothills of the Alps with two physiotherapists at his side.

The current record is held by France's Serge Girard, 45, who in 2005 covered 19,100 kilometers in 260 days, running an average 73 kilometers per day all the way from Paris to Tokyo without a day off.

Marchesi is the defending champion of the Giro delle Orobie ultramarathon in the Alps. In 2006 he ran from Miami, Florida to Portland, Oregon uninterrupted, covering a total 5,500 kilometers at an average 80 per day. In 2007 he ran across 6,500 kilometers of Italy at a pace of 85 kilometers per day, again without taking a day off.

Marchesi is expected to finish his latest endurance test in the town of Gorle, outside Bergamo.