Italy 2017 – Because we are the luckiest people on the planet

On the same day one year ago we flew to Italy to follow our dream of running through the country we love. While we were in the village where we were to start our run, we met Christine from Cinque Terre Trekking and she asked “will you run my race next year?”. At the time I said we would be back, but didn’t think it would be in 2017.

In October we started to look at how we might be able to pull this off. Then we had dinner with our friend Brian and he went home and put together a business case which he presented to The Lovely Jo-Anne only minutes after she had returned from a work trip (she was in no mood for ‘flip charts’ at that moment – hahahaha). After a bit more number crunching we were all in. And we were also forbidden from dining with Brian without The Lovely in attendance 😜

And here we are:

Flying to Italy with Jo-Anne and Brian!

Continue reading “Italy 2017 – Because we are the luckiest people on the planet”

Race Report – SciaccheTrail (2017)

The SciaccheTrail race is named after the Sciacchetrà, one of the wines of the Cinque Terre region. The gorgeous video below features some of the winemakers.

Fantastic isn’t it?

Continue reading “Race Report – SciaccheTrail (2017)”

Italy 2016 and How it Ended

The day after the Rome Marathon, Steve and I got married





We drove around in little Italian cars




We had wedding gelato


We zipped to Venice

and had the best seafood soup ever

which helped my fever

We then headed back to Florence

where we DROVE the little Italian cars

We headed to Courmayeur

But first became acquainted with the Milan police to report our stolen passports

Courmayeur was gorgeous 

And our apartment was bananas

We came back to Rome to sort out our travel documents and went for a run

And with that, Rome 2016 was over. 

Italian Run Recap

With the finish of the Rome Marathon, our Italian run was complete! Our watches didn’t last as long as we did us on some days, but looking at our maps for the missing Garmin sections we figure we covered 550km from Manarola to Rome. It was an epic adventure!


Steve ran in his Altra One 2.5 the entire way. Actually he just retired those shoes if that’s any indication as to their durability! He never had any issues!

I started our in my Altra One 2.5 as well, but as the inflammation in my left foot got worse I needed more cushion and support, so I switched to the Altra Torin 2.0. These shoes saved me!

We used the his and hers Nathan VaporAir and VaporAiress hydration packs. I’m constantly amazed by how much stuff you can fit in them, along with a full 2 litre bladder, and extra bottles and and there! Our packs are 3 years old this week, and only showing a bit of fade.

Our Garmin 220 watches worked out well. We knew that if we went beyond 8 hours using the GPS they would die out, and sadly you can’t charge them ‘on the run’. They worked as expected!

The eTrex we borrowed for navigation saved our brains. Could we have navigated the route without it? Of course. And we did that one day our tracks disappeared. But to not have to keep looking at our maps decreased our stress dramatically.

The SPOT GEN3 tracker we brought in case of emergency, but also to allow our friends to follow along. It clips easily on our packs and the weight is negligible. Very worth it!

We tried to eat ‘real food’ on the run when we could, but there’s not a lot open in the remote villages in the afternoons! We made a point to have Italian food (cappuccino, corneti) every morning and they sit surprisingly well in our bellies. Our main source of food-type nutrition was Strongbars, and they are delicious. We fuelled with Tailwind, this stuff is bulletproof and never gave us any stomach problems. We never got sick of the taste of either Strongbars or Tailwind, and that’s saying something!

Once we were done for the day we would always have a Nuun capsule in water to top up the hydration. The fizziness is so nice after running as well!

We also made a point of wearing our CEP Compression socks after running each night, and started wearing the compression sleeves after the Siena leg to keep the swelling down in my foot. They never bothered us and I strongly believe they helped!

We primarily wore the running hats we purchased at Cinque Terre Trekking, they are still looking awesome!

Massive shout out to Sylvie and Jen for dragging us and our stuff all over Italy so that we could pull off this crazy adventure! And to the Lovely Jo-Anne and Brian who helped out with the dead car and everywhere else! And to Super Coach Ray Zahab for making sure we were ready, and giving us pep talks when things got hard. We love all of you, and are so grateful to have you in our lives!

That’s a wrap of the run! I will put up one more post closing out our trip, and then on to our next adventures!

Rome Marathon 2016

Before we get to the last leg of our run, we had a one day intermission on Saturday to welcome the rest of the family to Rome!

Saturday morning Steve and I snuck out to run a streak-saving 5k to Circo Massimo and back. That felt short compared to what we were used to!

We had to hurry back to meet everyone back at our place as we intended to take the metro together to the race expo to get our race kits. Let it be known that there is more scrutiny when you pick up your race kit with regards to identification and medical certificates etc, than it is to get through customs in Italy 😜

We picked up our backpack and shirts, and had our names put on them 🙂


The shirts are great, but it’s the backpack that makes this race outstanding – it’s your race drop bag.

When we got back from the expo we met up with Steve’s Mom Mel and niece Emily, who had arrived an hour earlier. Shortly thereafter we met daughter Katie and Shervin at Termini and walked them back to the apartment we were sharing. They washed off the travel and took a quick nap before they heading back to Termini to take the train to Positano to spend 24 hours at the Amalfi Coast.

We had a quick dinner with Mel and Emily, and were off to bed!

Super Crew Sylvie and Jen and the Lovely Jo-Anne and Brian came to our apartment to meet before the marathon. Pat stayed behind but Mary was running late… quite literally, she ended up running the 5k to the metro stop near the Vatican! We still were in good time to get queued in our corrals.

Pre-race outside our apartment
These stairs will be fun after the race!

Jen was nervous to run her first marathon, Sylvie excited for hers, Mary was warmed up from her 5k sprint to the metro, and Steve and I really wanted to get it over with!

Getting queued into our corrals

After Brian took this great shot of us heading to our corrals, he and The Lovely Jo-Anne found their way to the start. We dropped off our drop bags at the trailers (super organized!) and said goodbye to our girls! They seemed pretty happy in their corral!

Pre-race selfie!

Because of our qualifying times, Steve and I were seeded into the 3:45 corral. Ummmm, we smartly went to the back of the queue, and looked behind us at the hungry racers in the 4:00 corral. We were going to get trampled…

The race gun went off and so were we! Just a few hundred metres in we hear screaming “Steeeeeeve!! Unaaaaaaa!!” and look over to find Brian and Jo-Anne had spotted us and took this shot. Ahhh-mazing right??

And we’re off!

The race race route is spectacular. It’s a foot tour of Rome!

Rome Marathon Course Map
Maratona di Roma race route


  • Starting at the Colloseum (always makes me cry)
  • Looping into St. Peter’s square!! Because of the Pope’s election in 2013 the race was re-routed away from the Vatican, so this was our first time to run that stretch. So worth it!!
  • Piazza Navona. So many people cheering! It’s magnificent!
  • Steve noticing Sylvie at the 21k mark and stopping for a quick hug
  • Mary finding us as I was walking and Steve was on a ‘rest’ break!
  • Aid station fuel of biscotti and oranges!
  • Running with Steve from start to finish! We’ve never run a race together before!
  • We all finished our races 🙂


  • I found it really hard. 🙁 My legs were tired and my foot was really swollen and angry. It hurt to run, it hurt to walk, it hurt to stop. We motored on though!
  • Steve felt great, I felt bad slowing him down.
Way to go Mary!! She ran 5k PLUS her marathon!

The medal signified the end of our epic Italian run. While we didn’t run every step due to logistics, getting lost, and safety reasons, we covered roughly 550km. We did it!

We left Mary at the metro and walked back toward our apartment. We bumped into Emily who spent the day wedding flower shopping for me!

We went to the street florist she found and picked up beautiful white calla lilies. The florist gave us some white ribbon and when we got back to the apartment Steve used his past-life-florist skills to wrap them into bouquets. The last bit of the wedding stuff was done! Thank you Em!

Sylvie and Katie organized a pre-wedding party for us which started with dinner at Wanted, then the ‘Haunted Walk of Rome’. It was so interesting! Kudos to Jen, who hadn’t had the time to train as extensively as we did was amazing to go on this walk after running a marathon a couple of hours before!! It was really funny to turn around and see that she would dip into stores along the walk to pick up some snacks to eat. She was STARVING 🙂

A Mom and her girl 

Are these shirts not THE BEST?? Sylvie surprised us with them, custom made! We each have a piece of the other’s pie! 


Ghost Walk
Haunted walk of Rome!

What a great day! We have the greatest family and friends. 🙂

Shoes: Altra One 2.5 / Altra Torin 2.0 (Una)
Hats: Cinque Terre Trekking
Packs: Nathan VaporAir (Steve) / VaporAiress (Una)
Navigation: eTrex
Tracking: SPOT GEN3
Watch: Garmin 220
Run Nutrition: Cappuccino, Strongbars, Tailwind
Recovery: Nuun hydration, CEP Compression socks, Italian red wine