I received from friends Alex Zanardi and Francesco Canali, this beautiful account of their Venice Marathon on October 25th. Alex and Francesco ran the Venice Marathon, inspiring and touching the hearts of all those who looked on.
Alex Zanardi is someone we all know: a former racing driver, he went on to become a handbike champion and has taken part in many marathons, including the Venice Marathon which he won in 2009 and 2010.
Francesco Canali, who suffers from ALS, is know as the “maratoneta in carrozzina”, the wheelchair marathon runner: he promotes awareness of his disease in an unusual manner, not least by taking part in marathons where he “runs” with friends who take turns to push him along. Meeting Alex led to a remarkable turn of events: what was first a bit of fun, the Alex and Francesco partnership (the former pulled the latter along on his handbike!) went on to become a real success. A great success. What more can one say? Congratulations, guys.
“To take part in the Venice Marathon is:
to measure human fatigue;
to appreciate the eternal beauty of a unique city with one’s own eyes;
to breathe the salty air that gives one courage;
to cross the Ponte della Libertà towards the finishing line;
to see two men who, challenging their destiny, explain without words what a human being is capable of when he decides to beat the odds;
to see a man in Piazza San Marco who, though dropping from fatigue, continues to push his friend Francesco beyond an imaginary line more significant than the finishing line;
to prove that legs are not essential for standing on one’s own two feet.
Drive, sweat, sacrifice and dignity: sport.”
Francesco Canali and Alex Zanardi