On 3 Oct “Bama” Sweeney, Holley Sweeney, “Dok” Hertzel and a relay team from Aviano departed Vivaro, Italy on a 100mi journey on foot through some of the most beautiful mountains in Northern Italy. The 100mi race would take them 33-37hrs running day and night through very steep and rugged terrain. Last year Bama and Holley ran the race with two relay teams in honor of Luc and finished the race with Cassy, Serene, and a bunch of friends from the local community. This year’s course was much more difficult than last year because an extra mountain was added in the middle of the run which added a little over 6,000 feet making the total elevation gain a little over 25,000 feet! The race director, Max Bello, wanted to dedicate the race again this year to Luc. Just like last year there was a toast to Luc 15min before the race. There was a banner that was hung in the center of Maniago that said “Intermediate finish line in honor of Lucas Gruenther.” It was very moving running through Maniago and under the banner. The race director was there in Maniago to pay tribute to Luc and also to check the teams’ progress.
This year there were over two times as many athletes that signed up for the race making up over 170 total participants. It felt almost like Luc joined the relay team in Maniago and pulled them through the last half of the race which had two very tough climbs. Dan Baker and his friend Mike joined the team in Maniago for one of the steep climbs. The majority of the participants lost steam during the second half of the race and dropped out of the race. In the end over half of the racers did not finish, but the participants from Aviano pressed on and finished strong! During the last leg of the relay the team grew 14 strong and ran to the finish line! Just like last year numerous people set personal records for running distance.