© Simona Cresta

Do you remember Soccorso Cresta’s challenge? 966 km in 19 days, what an adventure!
The closer they got to Castelfranci, the more the excitement grew…
How did this venture end and what happened on arrival?
What will be Soccorso’s next venture?

Enjoy your reading!

Is there any particular anecdote or memory of this adventure that you would like to share with us?

There are certainly many things to remember, the lovely evenings/dinners spent with Giuseppe, Pier Paolo and Maurizio, and the countless encounters along the way where we didn’t go unnoticed, since Gabriele had Swiss/Italian/Lugano/Castelfranci flags on his bike, and my backpack also had the Avellino flag (a football team of which Soccorso is a big fan, ed.). The most frequent questions were: “Where are you from?” and “Where are you going?”, to which Gabriele replied: “We’re from Lugano and we’re going to Castelfranci (AV)” – “But where’s the other bike?” – “My dad is on foot!”. Incredulous, they replied: “You are father and son, but what a beautiful story!”. This phrase, ‘but what a beautiful story’, accompanied us and gave us charge all along the way…
On the eighteenth stage, the longest 66.7 km, I wanted to make a small diversion to Pietrelcina, the birthplace of Padre Pio. Here I was joined by a dear running friend from Valtellina, Fabrizio Frate, who accompanied me for more than 30 km. After visiting Padre Pio’s house, we set off again for Venticano where we entered the province and, seeing the first sign with the sign ‘Avellino’, I had the feeling I had almost made it. In Venticano, my friend Saverio Addonizio, president of the Avellino Club Venticano, and some of the club’s members hosted us and entertained us with a typically Irpinian dinner. The surprise of the evening was the arrival of my cousin Lisa and my daughter Simona, who had not told me until then that she would be able to be there.
Also, on the penultimate stage, in a video posted on our Facebook page, I mentioned my friend Peppino’s pastry bar in Castelfranci where I invited him to let me find babà and sfogliatella. To my surprise, on arrival in the square, I found a table with pastries and Prosecco!
These 966 km have been a wonderful experience, among the many friends who have accompanied me on some stretches, the solidarity and kindness of the people I have met along the way. There are definitely places I would like to go back to, like Pandino where we were welcomed with so much solidarity, maybe we will come back on the occasion of the Panda festival!

Have you suffered any injuries? How did you overcome them?

As far as injuries are concerned, there were a few small problems during the course, but I overcame them, thanks also to the two pairs of proven shoes suitable for this type of route.

How did you feel during the last stage? And during the last kilometre before the finish? How did they welcome you?

In the nineteenth and final stage there were less than 30 km from home, the closer I got to my village the more the emotion grew, at about 15 km the celebrations began with cars and motorbikes following us and accompanying us by honking their horns. When we arrived in the Castelfranci area, we were escorted by the municipal police, and after a short stop at my hometown, we finally reached the town hall square where there were lots of villagers, led by the Mayor, Generoso Cresta (not a relative, ed.), with a ribbon and a wreath of flowers. They had also organised a rich buffet with cake for all those present (all wearing masks and spaced out!).
In the afternoon we were then greeted at the Curva Sud meeting in Avellino by Franco Iannuzzi, at Bar Broadway, and by the Mayor of Avellino, the Hon. Gianluca Festa, where we gave some interviews to local TV stations.
My wife and some relatives were also waiting for me on arrival.

So, was it an initiative that had a lot of follow-up?

This whole fantastic adventure was followed day after day on the Facebook page: Lugano-Castelfranci-AV in one go, and the comments and encouragement gave us a boost. The daily newspaper laRegione also gave a lot of space to the venture with several articles. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both the newspaper and TeleTicino for the space dedicated, and the many sponsor friends who wanted to support this initiative. All this solidarity and closeness from friends but also from strangers has sincerely left us with wonderful memories.

What will be your next challenge?

The next challenges are my 49th marathon in Barcelona and my 50th marathon in Venice, which were cancelled due to the pandemic and were planned for 2020.
One dream would be to be able to run THE MARATHON itself, the one that Pheidippides first ran, the fateful 42 km and 195 m from Marathon to the ancient stadium of Athens in Greece.

Will you come to the Ascona-Locarno Run 2021?

I will be there with All4All Ticino!

Thanks for sharing with us this beautiful enterprise and see you on 16 and 17 October in Piazza Grande!