Summer in Castelbuono is a moment of great excitement, full of events and music, where our little town becomes the meeting point of all sorts of people. One of the most representative moment of this lively atmosphere is the end of July, when the celebrations for Saint Anne take place. Saint Anne is the patron of Castelbuono, very much beloved by the community. That’s why it is particularly significant that on July 26th, right in the middle of the celebrations, the Giro Podistico Internazionale also takes place: each year, the most skilled athletes come from all over the world to compete on the streets of our town, running in the name of great sports, and giving life to an incredible event that combines a deep international vocation to a strong local identity.
It goes without saying, to all local people, “a cursa i Sant’Anna” is a great source of pride, an event that becomes the catalyst of the general attention: everybody becomes an expert and an enthusiast, even if just for a day. It’s like meeting long lost relative or friend, one you only see once a year: you welcome him back with great joy, celebrations and excitement. You can sense the familiarity that the people feel for the race, and for all those who are part of it. A widespread feeling of attachment, possessiveness even, that translates in the common habit, when you see a runner on TV, of exclaiming “Chissu vinni u paisi!” (That one came to town!) as if this fact alone could add exponential value to the athlete’s worth.
To tell the truth, the Giro Podistico is an event that wins everybody over: athletes, enthusiasts and casual audience alike, all thrown into such an exciting atmosphere that they can’t help but feeling it to their core. Watch the race even once, and you’ll want to come back and watch it again. After all, we’re talking of a competition that holds a top record, being in fact the most ancient street race in Europe. The first edition dates back to 1912, and the race celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012 (it’s still a bit far from its 100th edition though, because it skipped a few here and there over the years. This year – 2019 – it’s the 94th)
The race never stopped growing since its first edition. Among all the organizers and the people who worked to keep the race going over the decades, a special mention goes to Totò Spallino, thanks to whom the Giro Podistico finally got the international recognition it deserved. Many among the world top athletes have come to Castelbuono just so they could run in the race, accepting the challenge of a competition that’s considered among the most difficult, and claiming their victory as a “lucky charm”, a milestone in their career. “If you want to know if you’re in shape, you’ve got to run at the Giro Podistico” they say.
Today the Giro – with its illustrious past, the amazing scenery of our medieval centre, and the quality of the competition it brings to our streets – is one of the biggest events Castelbuono has to offer, and can boast some pretty impressive international acknowledgements, shared with other important world races (the Boston Marathon for instance, or New York’s, London’s, Tokyo’s, just to mention a few). What remains true, today as much as a century ago, is the deep value the competition still holds with the community – local or otherwise – and with the sports world: a common awareness, made of principles that go beyond all differences (geographical, ethnic, religious). An event that belongs to everyone, where the only things that matter are muscles, sweat, tenacity, and talent, and what really bonds us all together is the love for this competition.
Then, we wish you all a happy Giro!
To get more info and details, you may refer to the Giro Podistico official website.
*On the cover – 1966 edition