A typical moment in trail running is when the footpath begins to climb.
Whether it is in the middle of a forest or towards the top of a mountain or near a small village, for me it is usually the moment where the speed decreases, the breath increases, the back curves, the hands go down towards the hips or on the quadriceps. It is difficult to say how many uphill footpaths I have done in all these years, but during the races these are also the moments where my eyes moves frequently around exploring the surrounding landscape or to meet the faces of the local people, who stands on the edge of the path, cheering and supporting the runners.
When I think back to these people, I am convinced that they create a unique atmosphere, where the most important element is the sound. This sound has a common basis whether the race is in Italy, Germany, France or elsewhere: the sound of clapping hands, the sound of a drum (in my “ears”, it is still present the sound of the drums at km 34 of the TDS in 2015, just before the Col du Petit St. Bernard!), the sound of an accordion, the sound of the steps when they follow the climbing runner, the sound of the whistles, and the sound of cowbells.
This sound has instead a specific feature depending on the country where the race takes place: the sound of cheering words!
While it is more common to ear “Let´s go!”, “go go go!”, “push!”, “Don´t give up!”, independently from the country or region, I have in my mind specific words which I can immediately correlate to a country.
Cheering words in Italy: “Andiamo!”, “Forza!”, “Dai!”, “Su!”, “Coraggio!”, “Ale´!”, “Non mollare!”, “Grande!”.
Cheering words in France: “Allez!”, “Allons-y!”, “Bravo!”, “Courage!”.
Cheering in Spain: “¡Ánimo!”, “Máquina”, “¡Vamos!”, “eres un crack!”.
Cheering words in Germany “Los geht´s!”, “Auf geht´s!”, “Los!”, “Auf!”, “Hammer!”.
In these years running across Europe, I have learned and I get used to these different words and every new race in a different country or region is always a pleasant surprise which helps to complete the uphill footpath with a smile.