Looking at her in institutional pics, in dark suit, sober, elegant and with a contagious and shining smile, maybe you will not guess that. But when she starts speaking you immediately understand what she is made of. Sentences such as “ challenges are the good part of life” and “my motto is never give up” are not just words, they are truly part of a well drawn DNA.
Cristina Tasselli will be at Tor des Géants for the first time in 2014, but she already absolutely got everything she needs: she has the right amount of experience not to be a background player even if, she says, “ my goal is to finish it, to understand how far I can go with physical and mental commitment and, also, to enjoy it all: lansdcapes, the territory and the people I will meet during my way. More than a race, I think to Tor as an adventure trip. Even if I will try, as always, to do my best.”
And when she says so… Last October she gave her best at her first long and really hard trail, the Magredi Mountain Trail, 165 km with 7800 mt of altitudine range in the fascinating “ slender land” of Friuli. Well, she arrived at the finishing line in 10th position, first in the women standing.
But, how did this all start?
“ I did several sports in my life and I did agonistic track- and – field on short distances until my University period. Then, the job took over all of my "fun-time". In 2005, my husband signed me up as a joke to a 6km race organized by the Women Manager Association – which, for the record, I won – and after that I started running on streets again. It was not that easy at the beginning, but in two years I managed to run couple of marathons. Then, going to our holiday house in Morgex, I started being curios about people I met who were doing trail running and, so, I decided to give that a try. I worked on my endurance running, which I found out fitting perfectly with my idea of montains and nature and with my physical skills. This kind of training gave me good results also in the first competion I did: after that, trying to tun the Tor came natural to me..
This "try", though, requires long and careful preparation. On January 7th you became director of BIT ( Italian Tourism Stock Market). I guess this, added to several other management tasks in an articulated structure such as Milano Fiera, should bring to a professional life pretty different from average, with travels, meetings and a busy schedule. So, where do you find time to train?
"You just need to put your alarm at 5am. When I go abroad for business trip, I always pack my running shoes: sooner or later I will for sure find a park, no matter which continent I am going in. I am lucky to live in a very green neighborhood near Milano Linate where there is a rural area with cycling lanes and dirth patches . Every morning I spend one hour in the green and, on thursday, I double it training also in the evening. There are no hills there, but there are several overpasses which happens to be just as good to train for climbing speed. I try to stick to a strict schedule which is even more needed when job gets complicated and free time is reduced. At 6am, in any case, there are no meetings which are more likely to happen at 6pm. Then, every weekend is dedicated to mountains, up and down, each time a little bit more than the one before, trying to experiment different kind of nutrion and changing sleeping and waking up times in order to start running in impossible hours. In the end, I am trying to leave to destiny..just the unpredictable. I know what my schedule for August will look like: I will start from Morgex and its routes and widen my itinerary every time. Of course, I am a little bit concerned: training for the appropriate distances and altitude ranges required to run the Tor – the hardest trail in the world - is no joke at all! I can not compare it to any other race..I started doing some challenging race so that I have some kilometres and some legs done. As long as my job allows me, I never skip on my training goals."
What is the opinion about this at home?
"That is truly easy. When it is possibile, my husband runs by my side and my 7 years old son is moving his first steps on tracks and mountains routes..and he already enyoied Bertone Refuge last year, when we were volunteering for the last part of Tor2013. My family is supporting me which is essential in an endurance trail where not only practical and logistic aspects are important, but also day by day support and psycology. As Tor is to be run a lot with mind, this means a lot to me."
At the end of this chat we know one thing. Cristina Tasselli is one of the name you want to keep in mind: it will be worth for sure to follow her. Who gets the chance directly on the routes and at the refreshment points, who is forced home on internet. Surprises are in order.