They’ve all got it in for me – voted one of the best comedy one-liners in film. Thus goes the Kenneth Williams’ line in Carry On Cleo, a rather random romp through the story of Antony and Cleopatra. My preparation for this morning’s run was pizza and fries – what a health machine I am – followed by a night-time stroll through Fano, which is staging its ‘Times of the Caesars’ festival. `Five days of fun, spectacles and bacchanalia as the publicity posters advise.
Saturday night had lots of music and dance spectacles. We managed early on to miss the children’s dance of the cinghiale (wild boar), which I have to say as a casual observer that the boar looked more like a deer, but maybe I missed something in translation. Or perhaps the boar hadn’t made its entrance at the point we passed.
We arrived late in the evening to see the spectacle and miracle of fire, a celebration of all things pyro. I could only see the sparks but there was a distinct whiff of paraffin in the air and lots of whoops at the spectacle. And another thing, the audience are active participants, so many locals wearing togas of differing colours (and hopefully non-flammable material), which we believe relate to the local quartierie – local rivals if you will. It’s not often you find yourself in a clothing minority, by not wearing full Roman regalia, I felt decidedly under-dressed.
But if you were feeling sartorially challenged like me, there were many stalls where you could buy full gladiator, or legionnaire kit, including helmets, swords and gladiator sandals. No home-made, ‘chuck a sheet over your head’ togas here. Toga-wearing locals were doing just about everything – from carrying polystyrene columns over their shoulders to dancing to ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’ by the Blues Brothers. I’m sure the latter would be a welcome update if the Carry On franchise ever revisited its past hits.
Togas were riding bikes, mopeds and wearing trainers – it was a most surreal sight, and there’s more to come with Sunday night’s finale, a procession and a Ben Hur horse race re-enactment, around the central streets and piazza of Fano. The last Ben Hur show we saw was in London c/o of a well connected friend, who knew the director; and it didn’t go well. Doves had gone missing, the critics panned it and the show must have lost the backers a small fortune. Still it was the only time I ever heard the ancient language of Aramaic, although I can’t recall a word of it now.
Back to Caesar’s Le Marche – a 1am bedtime wasn’t conducive to an early start, but I schlepped out and took the Royston Vasey Ridgeway through the village – it’s cooler today so no need for a water top up. Map My Run Mechanical Voice Lady is suspiciously quiet, aha that’s because GPS has gone awry. Well they didn’t have GPS in Roman times, so that makes sense. After about 3 km I realised she wasn’t going to keep me posted, as she recorded me running less than 1/2 a km in 20 minutes, also in a perfectly straight line for good measure. At the 4km mark I turned off into War Of The Worlds Lane, dappled with shade, thank goodness and made my way on, having decided to re-run previous route so I could register the kms properly.
After only two runs down there, I am already starting to recognise folk. There’s a man and his two dogs, one of whom is called Arturo. Arthur was teasing another dog, who wasn’t at liberty and was stuck behind a big gate. Arturo’s fellow dog mate is yet unknown to me, and it seems too early to be making introductions. Arturo’s owner looks like one of the Hairy Bikers, although without the beard.
Near the alien abduction landing point, a lonely plough was working in the fields and the driver passed me and put up his hand. They are very friendly here, a fellow runner came in the opposite direction, but he was really motoring whereas I was definitely in plodding mode. No verbal communication, just the runners’ nod and he was off. About 3 minutes later, the run was done – a shade over 7km again and I’m very close to the 1200km mark, which is a welcome bonus.
Map My Run failure – it didn’t record the tracks
Average Pace 7:13
Elevation Gain 103 metres
Kms Done 1198.07
Kms To Run 819.93