a portrait of Marco Olmo from Dadardoud.com (Marathon des Sables & Desert Cup official site)
Within the running world, his name is synonymous with respect. Wherever he has run, his performances have earned him a reputation as an extraordinary runner. Not very talkative before or after the race, he expresses himself handsomely in the battle for victory. It is useless to draw up a list of his feats, as the story started some years ago and the victories and top three finishes flowed from there onwards.
It was at the 11th MDS that we saw his rangy figure appear for the first time. At his first MDS competition, there were several runners tipped for victory. He nevertheless finished third, behind the Russian André Derksen and Frenchman Patrice Costa, but ahead of two young Moroccans named Ahansal who had battled it out in the course of previous editions. At the 12th MDS, he finished 3rd once again and Lahcen Ahansal won the first of a long series of victories... From that time onwards, his name was ever present in the winners’ list. We must also, of course, emphasise that, from Veteran 1 to Veteran 3, he has been unrivalled in his category since the 12th MDS.
If we complete the table with his 4 victories in the DESERT CUP (3 in Jordan and 1 in Mali), anyone interested in running will have guessed that we are talking about the famous Italian Marco OLMO.
He is THE specialist in long distance races. His 2 UTMB victories in 2006 and 2007 cemented his renown and convinced the experts of his undeniable talents as a cross country runner. He is a sort of running alien, both in terms of his equipment, in his own DIY style, and his clothing from another era with its sometimes unexpected colours. But his most exceptional quality is the length of time he has been competing at the top level. He is 61 years’ old...
Not very inclined to chat, this man’s discretion sets journalists off course. A real ascetic, he lives to run. He trains alone, without the help of a coach, assistant or dietician. Up at 5am, no excess at breakfast and a visit to the acupuncturist in the event of a health problem. This is the simple life of a man used to working hard. His tough job as a digger driver left him hardly any leisure time, but he made the most of what little free time he had to run. Either to train or to participate in a competition. And when he’s not running, he devotes his time to meticulously preparing his equipment, with particular care in choosing his shoes
This Piedmontese, from Cuneo, is a man of rare modesty, ill-at-ease with all the honours. He’s not the sort to jump for joy, which is a shame since he has a beautiful smile.... His exuberance is limited to embracing the finishing line. With such a record of achievements, some people would be more voluble, since he is recognised by everyone who has run with him or seen him run as one of the greatest cross country runners in the world. To beat him, you have to be very strong, manage the race almost perfectly... and of course be much younger than him. If not, at the slightest error, you’ll be overtaken.
Those who have seen the film devoted to him will have gathered that this man benefits from the support of an attentive wife. We would like to tell Mrs Renata Olmo that we owe her a big THANK YOU for allowing us to know such a champion. And if, by chance, she reads these few lines, we’d ask her to tell Marco that he is an example to the running world and will remain forever a WINNER!
Contacts for the DVD, here (subtitles in GB/FR/SP)
Marco Olmo will be the ID Numbers 582 in the 25th MDS