Imagine long, sunny early-autumn days, crisp mountain air and breathtaking mountain trails in the magnificent UNESCO World Natural Heritage Dolomites. This is the dream scenario that meets mountain runners in Cortina d'Ampezzo this September, as the trail-running destination par excellence puts on a series of fabulous running events to celebrate this beautiful sport in all its forms.
In true Italian spirit, gastronomy plays an important part of the experience and the best of local food traditions will be showcased alongside some of the most scenic Dolomite trails!
Cortina d'Ampezzo kicks off its autumn running season 1-3 September with the inaugural edition of Cortina Corre (Cortina Runs). This brand new running event offers three days of sport and local gastronomy, with two fun races for both experienced and aspiring runners. Saturday's 8km race through Cortina is a great way to explore the villages of the Queen of the Dolomites and discover the hidden corners of this charming alpine destination. The race will start and end under Cortina's iconic bell tower in Piazza Angelo Dibona, where the post-race party will take place with local delicacies designed not only to refuel and replenish, but most definitely also to delight the taste buds.
Sunday 3 September, the steep slope of the Olympic Ski Jump is the venue for the Vertical Run, a short vertical challenge that requires stamina and a head for heights!
22 September marks the start of the Dolomiti Delicious Festival, the highlight in Cortina's autumn events calendar, with the much anticipated second edition of the Delicious Trail which takes place Saturday 23 September. The Delicious Festival is an entire weekend dedicated to alpine sports in spectacular scenery and the finest flavours of the area's celebrated food tradition, showcasing the very best that Cortina and the Dolomite mountains have to offer. A must for trail runners at all levels, the Delicious Trail offers two race distances - a 37km trail with 2,550 vertical meters and a 21km route with 1,400 vertical meters. Both distances take in some of the most fascinating areas of the Ampezzo Dolomites, with a combination of First World War history and simply stunning scenery, such as the restored Great War trenches of the Cinque Torri. Runners competing in the long distance will climb the famous Lagazuoi tunnels as part of their ascent to the highest point of the race (2,750m), equipped with helmets and headlamps provided by the organisers at the entrance of the tunnels. With its new official ITRA (International Trail Running Association) status the 37km Delicious Trail is worth 2 points for those who complete it.
After the sweat and the tears, joy erupts as runners are amply rewarded with a gourmet feast that has little in common with the usual post-race pasta party, but instead offers a fabulous menu with flagship dishes prepared by chefs from some of the area's most celebrated mountain huts and restaurants. In fact delicious mouthfuls can be savoured all along the race course with local delicacies, such as Casunziéi and polenta in various forms, being offered at the aid stations. This is trail running Italian style, simply unbeatable and certainly not to be missed!
Although trail running is the main protagonist of the Delicious Festival, this year the organisers have added a rock climbing competition on Sunday 24 September in the legendary Cinque Torri, one of the most popular climbing areas in the Dolomites. There will also be a host of collateral events for families and children throughout the weekend, in a true celebration of the Dolomites in all their splendour.