My hometown lies in a green river valley at the foot of the Alps. Although it's ancient and beautiful, to the millions of tourists who visit the country it is hardly more than a train stop. Yet I'm sure that our grave baroque buildings and our large streets lined with chestnut trees must be quite a treat to the unsuspecting visitor. And our winter sunsets, with the white Alps ablaze just a few miles away, can be an unforgettable experience.
At that time of the day the river park of Torino (Italy) is full of runners. Some are fast and very fit, others less so. They are there to relax, to get rid of stress, to put their anxieties in perspective, to cool off after another tough working day. Fast or slow, most take pride in their individual athletic accomplishments and comfort in the company of other runners. Running to them is the transition from work to family, from cold to warm, from storm to shelter.
I'm a morning runner. I run in the morning fog before dawn. I run up the river by the Loire-like castle and by the Medieval burg. I watch the sun rise behind the hills when it's summer but I usually get back before the first beam of light in the wintertime. I find comfort in solitude and joy in the emotions of my solitary runs.
I race as often as possible because I too enjoy the camaraderie and excitement of running with others. But my main reason for racing is to give a final purpose to my solitary wanderings. Racing focuses my morning running much like my morning running focuses my energies. I run in the morning to channel my strengths in the right direction. Running is my catalyst, my flywheel, my morning coffee.
My work often takes me far from my hometown. I run just about everywhere. I run in countries where running is very popular and in places where it is just a synonym of fleeing. I enjoy the different foods, the different habits, the different accents and languages. I smile and take vicarious pleasure each time the locals boast that theirs is the place. I fit in just about anywhere and quickly absorb the local habits. But my flywheel, my very special morning coffee is the one immutable habit that always stays with me. It doesn't have to be espresso. It can be French-roast, Hazelnut or maybe Turkish style. But when I miss it the day that follows is never quite as productive or as cheerful as it should be.
Giorgio Pogliano’s morning coffee doesn’t come in a cup, but he can still find it everywhere. Running each morning is his daily “coffee” – it gives him the surge of energy, something good to reflect upon during the day, and a reason to look forward to tomorrow. Just like the different types of coffee found around the world, Giorgio finds different surroundings as he runs.