In one of the breaks between the winter preparation we had the chance to talk with Riccardo Scalet, winner of Stage 1 of the First Edition of 5 Days Italy back in 2018 to know from him first handed some impressions and give some insights of how to tackle and what to expect this year. Riccardo is also fresh from the third position in World Cup Final last year in Cansiglio forest and currently the top elite orienteering runner in Italy.
Riccardo, you won the opening Sprint race in Madonna di Campiglio in 2018, what can you tell us about that day and that specific race?
I had been training some days already on the mountains around Madonna di Campiglio and was of course much looking forward to finally run in the village. The atmosphere in Madonna di Campiglio was very special with over 1000 runners at the arena, sunshine, live music and local food. The race itself was very challenging, because the open forest areas around the houses allow you to keep a very high speed, I also remember some tricky controls in the city-centre, and some steep slopes. What really surprised me during my run was the cheering of orienteers all around the town.
What is the key to success on your opinion when running in Madonna di Campiglio?
The key for me was to dose my energies, as the Sprint race was slightly longer than a standard race, also the weather can be very warm in July, so starting well-hydrated is sure a key factor. Last but not least uphill and downhill running skills are essential if you wish to succeed, Madonna di Campiglio has only very few flat areas, so strong legs are a must.
You did the pre-runner for the other forest stages in 2018 in Grostè and Passo Campo Carlo Magno, what do you think about those terrains?
The high-mountain terrain of Grostè is for sure one of my favourite areas on the Dolomites, as the plateau has only very little vegetation and almost no trees your legs wants you to push as hard as possible all the time, but the terrain is so tricky and rich in details that is easy to lose focus and make parallel mistakes. Passo Campo Carlo Magno is, on the other hand, very different from Alpe Grostè but just as beautiful, not as rich in details but perhaps harder to run because of the under vegetation, a lot of wet areas, marshes, contours detailed slopes and several areas with limited visibility where compass running is key.
What should the orienteers taking part in 5 Days Italy this year in Madonna di Campiglio expect?
Unfortunately I will not be running 5 Days of Italy in 2022 because I will be focusing on the international season with World Championships and European Championships. I am sure 5 Days of Italy 2022 will offer once again a great week of Orienteering in of the most iconic sites under the Brenta Dolomites; the stages will feature new awesome terrains just on the western slopes of Madonna di Campiglio, updated maps, and the awesome high-mountain stages in Alpe Grostè. I am of course a bit sad to miss 5 Days of Italy this year, but I wish all runners good luck and enjoy a beautiful week on the Italian Dolomites.