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Global runner ticks Gibraltar off his list

Pics by Eyleen Gomez

Roberto De Lorenzo, a 32-year-old from Florence, Italy, made Gibraltar the 53rd territory he has run in since he started his project ‘Running Out Of Countries’ three years ago.

His goal is to be the first person to run in every country and territory on Earth.

Last Saturday morning at 8am he was greeted by Emma Foy, the president of local running club Carpe Diem, and Chronicle reporter Eyleen Gomez, who took him on a tour of the Rock taking in many of its historic or beautiful sites.

Starting on the runway, the trio made their way across it and down Devil’s Tower Road where Ms Foy give Mr De Lorenzo a history lesson on the tunnels in the Rock above them.

The tour continued as they made their way around the east side, including a briefing on more recent events such as the sinking of the OS35 and the creation of the Sandy Bay breakwater.

Coming out of the Dudley Ward Tunnel and heading to Europa Point, Ms Foy distracted him from the unpleasant vistas of the dump and focused on Africa in the distance.

After a lap around Europa Point, the runners made their way up Europa Road to head up the Rock via the prison.

Stopping briefly to take in the Pillars of Hercules, they made their way further up the Rock and eventually towards Windsor Bridge, which they crossed before going up once again to join the road that would take them to Princess Caroline’s Battery.

Mr De Lorenzo met a number of macaques, much to his delight, with Ms Foy giving him tips on how to be around them so as not to scare or anger them.

Running past the Moorish Castle’s Tower of Homage, the runners eventually made their way onto and along Main Street, into Casemates and back towards the runway.

“Gibraltar was actually a big dream, a big wish that I really wanted to tick off for many, many, many years,” Mr De Lorenzo said.

“I know about its history, not like in full details, the tunnels and World War II places like Emma was telling me, which now has made my knowledge of Gibraltar way richer.”

“But also about its ancient past, Roman times, the Pillars of Hercules.”

“And also, of course, its particularity. That it's part of the UK, an Overseas Territory.”

“So of course, I had to come here.”

“I must say that Gibraltar was an amazing experience. I got very lucky with the weather, even luckier to have you and Emma as company. I couldn't ask for a better way,” he added.

Mr De Lorenzo decided on the project because he felt it was an original way of seeing a country.

“I've always loved running and traveling... and I have been a massive lover of geography, flags, and micronations and stuff like that.”

“Of course, I had to put everything together in a single project that physically mixed them all together in one single goal.”

He started the project three years ago in the UK, where he was living at the time, at a race in Greenwich, something he believes is symbolic with his running career starting on the zero meridian.

Since then, he has run in a further 52 countries and territories, including Gibraltar.

All have provided him with amazing memories and he said he cannot choose a favourite.

“But Gibraltar has been one country I really wanted to tick off,” he said.

“I would say Greenland, my first and only ultra-marathon on the ice cap.”

“The Faroe Islands, for sure. The untouched sceneries and uncontaminated places are just pure nature, fjords, amazing places, then Svalbard just below the North Pole.”

“It was the northernmost city in the world, where actually polar bears are more frequent than people.”

He also lists places like Tunisia and Transnistria, a region of Moldova, as places he has really enjoyed running in.

Within Europe he still has five countries left to run in, namely Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia and Bosnia.

He was 15km away from the border of Ukraine when he ran in Transnistria but decided not to cross over and tick the war-torn country off his list.

“I felt like if I go there and have fun during war times, it was a bit disrespectful for the people who are suffering, so I prefer to go in a peaceful moment,” he said.

“Also, when, when it's safer, and better to meet local runners.”

To follow Mr De Lorenzo’s journey, go to
linktr.ee/Runningoutofcountries

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