Amalfi. Italy. It was about coffee and gelato, it was waiting 30 minutes to be served and then having the best food you’d ever eaten, in a tiny restaurant in a crowded plaza overlooking a deep blue sea. It was about sunsets that made you redefine the meaning of color.
It was about tiny white houses clinging to the side of towering limestone cliffs and scary roads barely wide enough for a car to pass a bicycle and about looking up from your paper to see a woman with the style and grace of Audrey Hepburn walking past. Was Amalfi was just Amalfi or was so much more? Was it, as we’d been told, quite unique, special and a place for dreamers?
So we ran, and soon found Amalfi and its coast was also a special place for our runners, with secret trails through forests that tied together the deep ravines as they cut through the cliffs, deep clefts in the mountains where for centuries, the men of Amalfi had forged iron into swords and plowshares, where the first paper in Europe was made, where Caesars spent their summers in villas perched high on rocky outcrops, and where steep steps and twisting alleys took us through the tiny villages, where you skittered along following the way marks and the shouts of encouragement from the local people and other runners. We also found moments of solitude as we pushed ourselves on the upper reaches of the cliffs, taking short breaks to look back on where we’d come from, to the villages down below and to assess the challenges yet to come.
We’d started early, before sunrise, and in the warm dawn light the only signs of life were the sleeping dogs and cats, or the smell of fresh bread and coffee coming from the houses
overlooking the cobbled streets. We ran through the early autumn freshness of the day, cooled only by the breeze from the sea. We ran through the afternoon, the only sounds our feet landing lightly on the trails and and the cicadas in the trees. On occasion, our eyes would catch a flash of light as some exotic bird or tiny lizard darted from in front of us. As the sun set, and the last runners crossed the line, we couldn’t help but pause to look, and to see our friend the moon rising to help light them on their way as they raced through the darkness, chasing the headlamps of the runners in front and looking toward the coast and the ambient light from the piazzas of Amalfi and Atrani.
We had come by planes, boats, trains and cars. We’d made our way to this coastal paradise beloved of the Roman emperors; one of the most iconic and beautiful coasts in the world. We’d conquered stairs and ancient pathways, we’d navigated trails and the ancient Via degli Dei – the Pathway of the Gods – and been bewitched by this wonderful corner of Italy.
Italy welcomed us and Amalfi enchanted us. After the race, we dined under the stars and wandered through the charming courtyards. We exchanged our stories of the best and worst moments, of the things we’d seen and heard. We talked long into the night with our new friends, exchanging addresses and numbers, promising to unite again at some new Lost World location. Slowly we realized again, how much running enriches our lives, building new friendships, renewing old ones, enriching our memories and exciting us about the potential for new adventures.
Later, as we walked back to our hotels, our legs aching and our bellies full, we knew we would sleep well, and maybe also dream of this new dreamscape now forever embedded in our hearts and our memories.
Join with Lost Worlds in September, when we’ll not only be back for the Amalfi Crossing, but also in the week before, for a a four- day trail running holiday in the mountains and ancient towns Abruzzo.
not too late to join us this September. space is still available to register:
Amalfi Video: https://vimeo.com/109885226
Lost Worlds Video: https://vimeo.com/115940995
Facebook invite – Amalfi Coast Crossing 2015 – Lost Worlds Italy