Eleonora Duregon, an Italian in the USA

Eleonora Duregon

Over the years I spent in Piedmont I crossed paths with Eleonora indirectly several times.

What I always remember with a smile is the first time. Namely I had a car accident in the center of Turin. The other and I were both 50% to blame. So we organize everything to divide the costs through the respective car insurance companies. It was an unfortunate episode that we solved cordially.

Few months later I met again the driver of that car, while I was running the last downhill during the Aosta- Becca di Nona (2012 edition) competition. I remembered the face but I could not connect him directly to the car accident. After other weeks I met him again at some other local races in Piedmont, while he was taking pictures of the runners.

I thought he was a stalker!:-)

Instead, after few words, I got to know his name (Vittorio) and that he was just a great lover of mountain, photography and sports, as well as Eleonora’s dad. He also owns a useful and interesting blog, where he describes many of the trails in the Italian northwestern alps https://www.podoandando.com/skyrunning/.

That said, Eleonora definitively belongs to the “emigrantrailer” category, as she has emigrated into USA for four years and is a great Trail-Running lover, as evidenced by the long list of marathons and ultra marathons which she attended and above all concluded. Knowing her through competitions, one of the things that always amazed me was her ability to finish races of any distance and difficulty.

So tonight, we picked up the phone and we made a very pleasant video call Hesse (Germany) <-> Maryland (USA), talking about the current lives, the new dogs at home (Ulysses & Penelope), the upcoming canicross (Canicross – Wikipedia), which I had no idea about as official sport, and finally concluding with my five TRAIL questions.

T like Turin

“Eleonora, you are originally from Turin and have basically always lived there, before moving to Maryland four years ago. What were your favorite places to train for Trail Running around Turin, which could be a good suggestion for trail runners visiting the area?”

“Well, I love the question because it allows me to go back to pleasant memories. Since I was born, I lived in Collegno, a small town in the outskirts of Turin. The closest places to practice Trail Running were the Musiné (Monte Musinè – Wikipedia) and the Pista Tagliafuoco. My Trail Running story began there and therefore they are really special places for me”.

“I remember the first times very well, about 10 years ago. I was in the last year of my medical school and with my dad we started climbing the Monte Musiné from all possible sides, enjoying the different views on the surrounding plain or other mountains. From there we would sometimes lengthen the tour towards the Conca of Givoletto for a little longer than 3 hours, which for me represented a mini-vacation. In the surrounding there are the beautiful trails of one of the most difficult but little known races of Trail Running: the Val della Torre alpine marathon MARATONA ALPINA 2020 – A.P.D. Sportinsieme Val della torre“.

R like Research

“One thing we also have in common is also the passion for research: different fields, but we are always talking about research. Can you go a little bit more in detail on what you do?”

“I am a pathologist, now doing research in the aging field, trying to understand how dietary interventions can impact on health and longevity. While living in Turin, I did the Medical School,  then I got my PhD in Biomedical Sciences and Oncology, and completed the Residency in Anatomic Pathology. Since the very beginning I knew that I wanted to become a physician-scientist. This goal has guided me in US, where I first did post-doctoral fellowship in the Pathology Department at Johns Hopkins University (Home | Johns Hopkins University (jhu.edu)) and I am currently on my post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute on Aging/National Institute of Health (National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)). Trail Running has been fundamental in this journey. When I was in Italy, it was a huge outlet from studying, which allowed me to travel, meet beautiful people and make lifetime memories. In US, where the opportunity to travel and race is more limited, trail running has been more like the “glue” between the life I left in Italy and the new one here in Baltimore“.

A like America

“You moved just over 4 years ago. Was America your desired destination and how did you adapt?”

“I was neutral to the idea of moving in US. I wanted to travel, see the world and learn about different realities from my Italian ones. The first few months were very tough. I was alone, with minimal understanding of day-to-day English. Looking back that was a real cultural shock. Then I started to settle in and appreciate more and more Baltimore, especially the diversity of people and cultures you can experience“.

I like Interactions

“It intrigues me to know how the interactions between trail-runners are in the States, compared to European ones. What idea have you got after few years there?”

“There are substantial differences with competitions in Europe and this also affects the interactions. For example, in Maryland, typically races are 50 km long with shorter loops to be repeated multiple times. This means you have the chance to cross over several times. I also noticed a slightly more goliardic spirit than in European competitions, perhaps more professional. Ah, another not so little detail: both trail and road races here are very expensive, way more than the normal standard we are used in Italy. Therefore, they need be carefully selected (also for logistical reasons)”.

L like LUT (Lavaredo Ultra Trail)

“The LUT-Lavaredo Ultra Trail (La Sportiva Lavaredo Ultra Trail – Home) is one of the most fascinating international trail running races. You participated twice and finished it twice. What memories did it leave you?”

“Thank you for reminding me those nice memories! As you said, I did it twice: in 2015 and in 2018. They were two completely different situations. During the first time, I was more competitive, ran harder and enjoyed the scenery less. During the second time, by choice I ran slower, and I enjoyed it all, trying to fix in my eyes all the beauties of the landscape there. In fact, I had already been living in US for a year and a half and it was my first time back in Italy. It was such a a special moment to be able to breath thin fresh mountain air while looking at alpine peaks and pastures… I wanted to fully savor every moment of it!”.

“And I hope you will have other moments like that! Thanks a lot for this chat!”

Additional information about Eleonora

In case you would like to contact Eleonora for more detailed information about being an “emigrantrailer” in the United States of America, it is useful to know that:

Related projects and articles

Other short chats with “Emigrantrailers” around the world at the link: Emigrantrailers around the world | EmigranTrailer.

Enjoy Trail-Running!

Andrea De Filippo

Original post in english language. For other languages, please open with a web browser (i.e. Chrome) and apply the automatic translation.

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