The desire to run for solidarity and to support the Telethon Foundation was stronger than the rain: success for the 24th Telethon 24 relay for one hour which, from 3 pm on Saturday 3 to the same time on Sunday 4 December, made the heart of Udine move at a pace of running and solidarity. They have been 540 teams which, for two days, enlivened the city centre, for a total of almost 15,000 people, including the over 1,500 boys of the Staffetta Giovani which opened the weekend, Saturday morning, with the event dedicated to school children, from elementary to high school.
Record attendances which, despite the unforgiving weather, bode well for the Udinese Staffette Telethon Committee, led by Marco de Eccher, to be able to equal the amount collected in 2019 and entirely donated to support the fight against rare genetic diseases.
As always, there will still be some time available to complete the donations, again through the BNL channels, before being able to officially calculate the proceeds of this edition, also adding up the teams and individual riders who participated ‘remotely’ using the application created by 3Technology. In fact, many have organized small relay races to be able to be present even remotely at the Telethon embrace. And the sharing of photos and videos on social networks with the hashtag #telethonudine was also great
The 24-hour race was opened by testimonial Katia Aere, the Friulian handbike champion who, to her credit, boasts an Olympic bronze medal at the Tokyo Games and is ready to relaunch it at the next Paris 2024 Olympics. It was she who rode the first tour of the course, officially kicking off the event. “I myself suffer from a rare pathology that struck me, turning my life upside down in 2003. Research has done a lot in recent years and I know that if research had been as advanced as it is now at the onset of my disease, perhaps I would have had less drastic consequences. This is why I believe it is important that everyone does their part to support scientific research and I am proud to be able to get on track for Telethon”.
But there were many sports friends of the Relay busy over the weekend, from basketball with Apu Udine to Udinese Calcio, passing to Itas Martignacco which plays in the A2 volleyball championship.
THE IRONMANS OF THE RELAY
An obligatory mention for our ‘Ironman’, the runners who faced the entire 24 hours alone. There were 18 special protagonists: alongside the legendary Silvia Furlani, suffering from multiple sclerosis, there were Lodovico Tuzzi, Massimo Tomasettig, Giovanna Del Gobbo, Gianni Molaro, Gianluca Pagazzi, Daniele Clarotto, Daniele Drago, Domenico La Sorte, Luigi Chirivì, Fabiano Picco, Maco Sommer, Gianfranco Scardigli, Dorotea Lo Cascio and Raffaella Petris.
Even if the Relay is not a competitive race and the spirit is to participate as a sign of solidarity, due credit must be given to the teams that, over the course of 24 hours, managed to complete more laps. The special classification of the fastest sees the lead by a large margin Venzone relay, with 245 laps, equal to over 360 kilometres, followed by Azzano Runners, Atletica Buja, Atletica Monfalcone, Onoranze Funebri Sarto, Bersaglieri, Chei di Colugne, Mostrorunner, Avis Casarsa and Modine Top Runners.
Special thanks also go to the heads of the larger teams, i.e. those who have taken charge of coordinating various teams. Here too the primacy goes, by detachment, to Carnia, which deployed 30 formations, for a total of 720 people. Special thanks too all’Afdswith 19 teams at the start, at the University of Udine which fielded 12 and allo Sweet Team Aniad fvg which saw ten teams take the field.
PIAZZA I MAY BEATING HEART
The route, approved by Fiasp – Aps of Udine, winded for 1,500 meters along a ring from piazza I Maggio (facing PromoturismoFvg), viale della Vittoria, Parco della Rimembranza, via Sant’Agostino, largo delle Grazie, piazza I Maggio ( Stellini classical high school side) and arrival again under the Castle. In Giardin Great party in the ‘Villaggio Telethon’, with the various spaces for animated tents, campers and gazebos.
Once again this year the stage in Piazza I Maggio was enlivened by music. Officially opening the Relay, as has become tradition, the Fanfare of the Alpine Brigade Julia, which marked the first ‘countdown’ before the start ‘shot’ by a squad of musketeers from the Palmanova Historical Group.
But over the course of the 24 hours, many other bands and musical groups set the pace for the runners: the Blues Metropolitano and the homage Pino Daniele, the Cantori del Friuli, with popular songs in the Friulian language, sacred and polyphonic music, the From the soul and their homage to Lucio Dalla, Heaven’s Gate Mass S*, a young group from Udine, Power Flower and 70s and 80s disco music, the Rudynats, with a rock, blues and soul repertoire, Sara Simondi 4tet who made Vanilla Boulevard travel between pop, rock and fusion that ranged from Indie Rock to funk, pop, post-punk and 70s rock.
A SPECIAL PROJECT
Udine, numbers in hand, has long been the most important event in the panorama of the ‘Telethon Marathon’. In the last five years, despite the Covid, the event, thanks to the solidarity of many Friulians, has raised and donated over one million euros entirely to the Telethon Foundation.
This year the event in Udine is combined with a very particular research. At the end of 2021, in fact, we learned the story of Martina (fantasy name, to protect her privacy), a 15-year-old girl from Udine who had discovered a few months ago that she was suffering from a rare degenerative neurological disease, Lafora. While Martina was preparing to face the challenges of her life with enthusiasm, this pathology blocked her. And she turned her family’s life upside down. La Lafora, in fact, currently has no cure and its rapid evolution in terms of cognitive, psychic and physical deterioration, offers a very short life expectancy.
His parents turned to our Committee, to be able to find help. And, thanks to the Telethon Foundation, two research projects have been identified that will be able to give hope to this young Friulian and her family. Studies that will be supported thanks to the solidarity of those who will participate in the Udinese Relay.