NBS STORIES: CARMELA VERGURA A LIFE FOR SPORT
When it comes to trail running for women Carmela Vergura she is certainly an icon, present in this world since the birth of the first races in Italy, from the early 2000s to the present day.
She has always been passionate about sport and has made it her profession and lifestyle.
After graduating from the ISEF in Foggia in 1987, she moved at a very young age to Val di Fiemme, in Trentino, and then to Valle d’Aosta, where she was appointed swimming coach of an absolute competitive team. For 7 years she dedicated herself completely to swimming, while at the same time growing professionally as an athlete, also practising triathlon and skiing.
At some point Carmela’s energy needed to breathe air outside the pools.
“I realised that the walls of the swimming pool and the smell of chlorine were no longer enough for me, I needed open spaces and it was love at first sight with the mountains! These two worlds, swimming pool and mountain, have always been a part of me and still coexist peacefully today.
He started out running on the trails and approached the ‘martze a pià’, the mountain running circuit typical of the Aosta Valley.
When the first trail running races were born, Carmela simply kept running.
“In the meantime I got married, moved to Piedmont, where I currently live, had a daughter and still run, work, coach and help organise trail and pool events! Running on the trails gives me energy: I love my job because it allows me to be inside sport, practised and taught”.
A path of continuous challenges
The painful decision to leave Apulia at the age of 24, ‘came from the awareness that I would never fulfil my dreams, unfortunately the mentality in the southern regions in the 80s was not really that of a free woman, it was still matriarchal. The role of women was still seen as housewives looking after children and the home. And I, who was the antithesis of all this, didn’t accept it.
Moving from Puglia to Trentino at the age of 24 was a complete change of life. When I moved to Valle d’Aosta it was even worse, a region that in some respects reflects the real mountains, with a more closed mentality and not easy social relations’.
In her journey through life and as a woman, Carmela has found a husband who has always supported her.
“I have never stopped doing sport, I have met so many people, places and a very rich sporting life with over 1600 competitions”.
Trail running from its birth in Italy to the present day
Carmela has seen and experienced first-hand the transformation of trail running and, above all, the participation of women.
“When I started running trail races, we were really whiteflies! In the Tor des Geants in 2011, the female participation was remarkable. We all experienced that event as something new, for the pleasure of challenging ourselves on unfamiliar ridges, facing the day and the night with our running fatigue, experiencing personal challenge and new goals”.
Over the last 15 years, many women have approached the world of trail and mountain running, becoming more confident and better trained.
Carmela is certainly not a woman who gives up and the idea of giving up sport does not even occur to her.
‘When it comes to race results, age is starting to be a bit of a disadvantage, but that’s OK – it’s a natural progression for people! When I finish a race I’m happy regardless of the result, because I’ve brought home another goal, I’ve had fun and I’ve had a good time.
I never lose the motivation to keep doing sport for the sake of it and to motivate other people.
This must never go away: congratulations Carmela, you are an example to us all!