National Teams Return to Mémorial Partigiani Stellina
For the first time since 2006, federations will send teams to contest the Italian uphill classic on the 28th of August.
Since 1989 Mémorial Partigiani Stellina, formerly Challenge Stellina, has commemorated the victory of the Italian partisans of the Stellina Division over German forces in the hills above the town of Susa during World War Two.
Now the organizing committee are reviving the race's original concept of a peacetime contest between nations, run on the same trails which were the scene of conflict during the war. Through the Italian Athletics Federation, the Local Organizing Committee has sent invitations, signed by Livio Berruti, Olympic 200 metre champion in Rome 1960 and president of the committee, to the national federations of Austria, France, Germany, USA, GB and Switzerland.
“The return to this format is a project that we have had for a long time, also at the will of the Piedmont Region, President Livio Berruti and Cavalier Alberto Bolaffi, to resume the original meaning of the competition,” said Paolo Germanetto, head of the organising committee and president of Atletica Susa. “Furthermore, given the current international situation and the historical moment, we are convinced that the initiative can take on an even stronger and more important meaning, which goes beyond the borders of a simple sporting gesture.”
On top of its rich history and strong traditions, the race has long been among the most prestigious and competitive in Mountain Running, having hosted multiple World Cups and Italian Championships, as well as the World Masters Championships. Even so, the return of the international fixture in this 34th edition is likely to elevate the level even higher.
The course is a classic Alpine uphill test. Starting from the city of Susa itself, it traces a line across the lower slopes of Rocciamelone, climbing through the trees before emerging into wide open alpine pastures and finishing after 14.3km and 1,630m+ at Alpeggio Costa Rossa.
There has been some variation in the course over the years, but the records for the full route belong to arguably the two best ever; Andrea Mayr and Jonathan Wyatt. Mayr's 1:29:41 is not yet a year old, coming in the 2021 edition of the race, while Wyatt's 1:14:37, the fastest of his thirteen wins, dates from 2004.
Images - Damiano Benedetto