On Saturday morning the Venice in Peril marathon weekend kicked off with a rather energetic alternative tour of Venice led by Stephen Bayley. Passing through the lesser-known areas of the city, the tour culminated in a trip to a gasometer where the group learnt about architecture and modern buildings that never were.
Saturday afternoon saw the group set sail from Fondamenta Nuove on two traditional 'bragozzi' (boats typical of Venetian fishermen). Navigated by Alfredo and Gianni, the group travelled to Lazaretto Nuovo where they learnt about the Plague and had the opportunity to visit the museum.
Pre marathon nerves were tempered at the Guggenheim Collection on the Saturday evening. A lavish private reception with access to the collection was generously donated to the marathon team and their guests by Marina Morrisson Atwater. The evening was rounded off with dinner in traditional Venetian restaurant Cantinone Storico on Fondamenta Bragadin.
Sunday 24 October arrived earlier for some than others, 4:30am to be exact. Whilst most of us were still sleeping, members of team Venice in Peril were preparing themselves for the gruelling 26 miles ahead.
Vanessa Fairhead candidly explains the circumstances under which the runners found themselves on that cold and dark morning:
"We were up at 5 to get a taxi to the station followed by a quarter of an hour walk to a bus which seemed to take about an hour to get to the start. We then had to hang around for a couple of hours in the cold having handed in our layers - I was very grateful for my not very glamorous black bin bag top! Lots of sweet tea was on offer but the queues for the loos were so long I didn't have a second! [.] Crisis - it became apparent that there were no loos at any stage but luckily I realised that I wasn't behind anyone I knew and popped over a hedge not far from the start - a good move as there wasn't much more countryside! Running is very boring but I stuck near the 5 hour pacers and just kept going knowing that if I walked it would just take longer! In fact I spent a very enjoyable second half with another V in P runner and we had a good chat and that really helped get us over the 16 bridges at the end - the most hairy being the temporary pontoon from S Salute to St. Marks. Sadly we didn't go through St Marks because of the aqua alta but plenty of time for that afterwards."
Six arduous hours later the marathon was over and Team Venice in Peril had completed it; each member achieving impressive times and still smiling by the end and just missing the torrential rain by an hour.
Finally time to celebrate at The Hotel Gritti Palace where Starwood Hotels provided the Venice in Peril team with a fabulous private party. Bisol donated mouth-watering prosecco , young opera singers Laura Wright and Charlotte Baly sang Laudamus te from Vivaldi's Gloria and Stephen Bayley amused us all with his closing speech.
Camilla Purdon, Director of Messum's Fine Art Gallery in Mayfair, was presented with a 5* weekend in Venice donated by Kirker Holidays, having raised over £11,000 for the Fund.
Venice in Peril is extraordinarily grateful to their 2010 Venice marathon runners for their commitment and good will and to all their sponsors. So far they have collected over £30,000 and there is still time to sponsor them!
Venice in Peril would like to offer sincere thanks to Marina Morrisson Atwater for her contribution to the weekend; Bisol for a very generous supply of prosecco; Starwood Hotels and The Hotel Gritti Palace; Kirker Holidays for their continued support and extremely kind donation of the luxury prize, and last of all, but by no means least, Venice in Peril would like to thank the ASD Venicemarathon Club, in particular Mara Carraro, for her help and support over the last year.
Congratulations Team Venice in Peril!
3 November 2010