What a thrill! This is one of my top ranking adventure experiences while living in Italy. There’s much more to Italy than the museums, monuments and gelato ! Do as the locals do & get a feel for the vibe of an area.
(The featured photo above is the ‘after’ shot of my shoes & top. Let’s just say, I had to buy new running shoes :))
icon-star Registration is now open for 2015 – go to the official site to register and details. (it’s in Italian, use the Chrome browser with auto-translate if you don’t speak Italian )
Scigamatt is an annual event (September) in Acquate, Italy. The race has two course lengths- 5K and 15K (the 15K is simply running the course three times). It’s a winding course through the village of Acquate’s old town streets/alleys & piazzas and also runs up & around Mt. Resegone. This course is made up of approximately 12 obstacles: climbing up ropes, running through streams, up & down platforms, through fire hose sprays, sliding down soapy slippery hillsides and even having to climb in pig manure! The race is a blast and the setting of Lake Como & Alps is beautiful!
I moved up to the Lake Como, Italy area in 2013 and started checking out happenings in the area. I came across the Scigamatt event – a crazy, fun obstacle course race through an Italian village at the base of the Alps. Convenient for me, it was being held in a neighboring commune, Acquate, Italy. The race cost was only 20€, so I signed-up. At this point I hadn’t been very active; actually you could classify me more of a slug, spending most of my time sitting in my office chair working on a computer. But, I figured, what the he**, what’s the worst that can happen??
I talked my friend, a fellow American Expat living in the area, into doing the race with me – the shorter 5K course (I’m not crazy ;). Our mindset was that we are doing this for fun, we weren’t shooting to break any records…we’d leave that up to some of the others. The day of the race we meet up with the 400 or so other participants. We were nestled in among this ancient town with many of the participants dressed in wacky outfits. This was a comfort for me to see that it wasn’t super serious in nature. But, beware of the fit Italians, even in crazy outfits, they can kick your butt in physical activities – especially when it comes to steep mountains!
It’s 3pm, the bull horn sounds and we’re off!
A run through the ancient town, up a rope wall, getting sprayed by fire hoses (felt good, it was sunny & hot), then down to the military crawl on hard gravel (didn’t feel good), running through a stream, rope climb up a stone wall, then onto the path up the mountain, passing along hillside homes – the locals cheering us on & cooling us down with a splash from their garden hoses, continuing over a pile of tires (harder than one thinks!), more uphill….this is where I wanted to pass-out & managed to grab a pricker bush and resulted in a bloody hand (medics cleaned me up and onward we went). Slid down the hillside on a soapy, slippery rubber mat (the most fun), to a run down the mountain, then had to cross some pig manure (smelly!!), heading back into town, up & over some obstacles, and finally, across the finish line!!
We finished in 1 hr 18 min. Placing 54th & 55th in the women’s bracket. 124/125 overall out of 400. Not bad! I was just proud that I got my nerve up to participate, and the cherry on top was completing the race!! We even received special megaphone acknowledgement as ‘The Americans’, they thought we flew in specifically for the race. The race sponsors were proud that they had become internationally recognized. We didn’t admit we lived nearby; why not let them enjoy their international status 🙂
I did attend the event a second time in 2014, but this time as a spectator & photographer since I had an injury to my hip. It was just as much fun being a spectator and watching these crazies run past as I sat with the locals sipping a prosecco in the town piazza.
I’d highly recommend this event for many reasons: to experience a local event, set in a stunning area, get a physical workout and have some fun! Plus, the event is incredibly well organized – race bibs, tracking chips, locker storage during the race, shower facility and food, wine & beer provided after the event.
Acquate, Italy is in the province of Lecco (Lombardia/Lombardy), on Lake Como and it’s just a 40 minute train ride from Milan. There are many wonderful things to see and experience in the Lake Como area: explore the beautiful towns & villas on the lake by ferry, hike, eat and you can always go stalk George Clooney 😉
Scigamatt 2015 is set for September 5th. More information: www.Scigamatt.com. The site is written in Italian – use the Chrome browser and set to auto-translate to read everything. But…. all you really need to know is to click on the “iscriviti” (sign-up) link.
Public transport: Train Station: Lecco. From the Lecco train station it’s only a 1.5 km walk to Acquate (race start general area Parrocchia Di Acquate, Piazza Sagrato Don Abbondio, 1 Lecco LC)
My biggest takeaway
Sometimes the best experience is in your own backyard and make sure you try something that is not listed in the tour book! Amazing Obstacle course race