The Monastic Run


Hello, has anybody seen the summer? Where are the heat, the sunshine, the blue skies and that longed laziness on sandy beaches? We are all here, ready in our flip-flops, towels and bikinis but, actually, this July looks like more a rainy April. It’s really unfair for those who are on vacation and for one person in particular: ME.Β  That’s why this week-end we have decided to go somewhere else and drive to Simbruini mountains, about 100 km far from Rome, to reach Subiaco. Why? To run, of course.


The monastery of St.Benedict

Subiaco is particularly renowned as a tourist and religious resort for its sacred grotto (Sacro Speco), in the medieval St. Benedict’s Abbey, and for the Abbey of St. Scholastica. In July there is a very picturesque race called “la Jennesina” . The route is enchanting as the race starts at the monastery of St.Benedict, then you run through the sacred places where the Saint lived and dictated the “Rule of Saint Benedict“,Β  which contains the precepts for his monks ( the most famous is “Ora et Labora“, that is “Pray and Work” as you may see it chiseled at the entrance of the monastery), to reach the fascinating medieval hamlet of Jenne. 10 kilometers of history, natural beauties and all uphill!!!


A view of Simbruini mountains


Mr Run’s concern

When Mr Run and I reached Subiaco, we soon realized that we had left spring behind to be welcomed by a gloomy, rainy, autumn day. We had to stay in our car for more than half an hour, because of a heavy, endless shower. What does that motto say?”Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know“, in fact, I started to wonder, that maybe we’d better stay at home, as I was picturing myself waiting for him under the rain at the finish line, or in the car for a couple of hours. I didn’t even have my iPad or a book with me!

Magically the rain ended and the air was clear and fresh. Mr Run soon put on his running shoes and with some friends of his team rushed to get to bus to reach the start at the monastery, while I would wait for him in Jenne.


The four musketeers


Alleys in Jenne

Well, I had all the time to visit the place. Jenne is actuallyΒ  really quaint. You can feel that atmosphere of the middle age, typical in central Italy, in the stony alleys, little colorful houses and churches. In the late 12th century, it was the birthplace of Pope Alexander IV.





The statue of Pope Alexander IV

When I came back to the finish line, the runners were just about to end their fatigue. The winner took a little more than 36 minutes to run 10 kilometers uphill. Only when the last 500 meters are dangerously downhill as you can see :


Mr Run’s arrival


Few meters to the end

Running uphill is not exactly what Mr Run loves the most, in fact he confessed he had even pondered to leave the race at the third kilometer. But Mr Run is not a quitter, particularly in the land of “Ora et Labora” so after that short crisis, he rolled up his sleeves and managed to end the competition in 51 minutes. He was disappointed of course, but his discontent didn’t last long, as after the race, the inhabitants of the village had organized a feast for the runners and their families, based on the local culinary delights as pasta with mutton tomato sauce, roasted mutton etc.


Ladies serving mutton tomato sauce pasta


Final toast

After all this “orare” and “laborare”, “manducare” (to eat) well, is the right reward, isn’t it? πŸ™‚


33 thoughts on “The Monastic Run

  1. 51 minutes to run 10km uphill is good going, especially if uphill is not Mr Run’s forte! And what a lovely village tradition, to feed the exhausted and their supporters.

    We’ve stolen some of your summer weather here in the UK I think, some lovely hot and dryish weeks — well, hot for us anyway!

  2. I am with the comment above! 10km uphill in 51 minutes is pretty amazing in my books! Sorry to hear the weather has been so damp. We are actually having hot days. Could you see about getting the weather straightened out for mid Sept? πŸ™‚

    • I’ll do my best πŸ™‚ We had a warm winter and it seems we ‘ll have a fresh summer. However, when it starts like this, it will be pretty much the same for the rest of the season, with a bunch of hotter days sooner or later. I’ll keep you updated πŸ˜‰

  3. Great post, Sweetie!!! It’s been SUPER rainy here too. I have a post coming where I was shooting farm land and houses, but the bonus is, the CLOUDS that were captured blew me away. We have had some really nasty storms. So you are not alone. When that sun shines, I get on my bike and ride with wind!!! (((HUGS))) Amy

    • Wow, a windy post πŸ™‚ look forward to seeing it. You know, here it’s a kind of sad. I live near the sea and in this desolate weather there is nothing I would like to do. Summer should show up next Wednesday. Let me paraphrase the old poet “If springs comes,may summer be far behind?” πŸ˜€

      • I hope this rain stops soon. Again today it is pouring. *sigh* All my beautiful Roses with their lovely blooms are just coming right down in this rain. My post is not about wind, it is about how I was capturing a dying tradition where I live, (farming) and in the process, I got some really powerful looking clouds. I still have yet to put that together, but hopefully that will be up this coming week. πŸ™‚ Love, Amy

  4. Beautiful photos — thank you for sharing. We have had a wonderful mix of weather this year in central NY. A few really hot days and just as that gets tedious — a few cooler days — and some invigorating windy days. Unfortunately, a few too intense thunderstorms that created some havoc. I will try to send you some better weather soon. πŸ˜€

    • I know, but he is disappointed, because despite the hard training he was the last of the four “musketeers” to reach the finish line 😦 He is a competitive guy πŸ™‚

  5. Congratulations on finishing the run! πŸ™‚

    it’s always a treat to have sunshine, I must say I enjoy the long nights here, especially with blackout curtains in my bedroom πŸ™‚ you can even run at 11pm or 3am if you feel like it, but that’s not something I ever do. πŸ™‚ cheers, Tanny

  6. If at the end of the run I get to eat what those ladies where serving, then IΒ΄m in. The sights I doubt I will see because IΒ΄d be looking down at the floor almost having a heart attack, but if the end result is that food, so be it, count me in next time. I have a pretty good sense of direction so to get there Mr.Run will have a nice cool copilot. I just want food!

    On a serious note, what a lucky lady you are, beautiful place.

    • Hi Charly, these are the kind of runs I love: small, quaint villages, food and music after the race, just nice. With a little train, you can come and join us next year. I’ll wait for you and my husband at the finish line of course. πŸ˜‰

      • I didn’t mean that. I’ll be waiting for you both at the finish line as I don’t run. During Mr Run’s runs, I usually have a nice walk in the surroundings, sip a cappuccino at a bar…you know, stuff like that πŸ™‚

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