crossXrace: ageless discipline along incredible courses

(To Andrea Cucco)
20/09/22

When we read about civil competitions held in military areas, the thought - for those who, like myself, has his years ... - goes immediately to the time of military service in which you jumped from a tower, faced obstacles, yes crawled on the ground or in the mud and sweated under a wall in an attempt to climb over it.

For many years the crossXrace they seem to offer the possibility of trying again or discovering healthy and, however harsh, exciting activities and emotions from scratch.

To understand its genesis and some more details, we met Franco Stovali, the president of the association that organizes the events.

What does crossXrace mean?

It is the acronym of the discipline, a cross-country running race with obstacles: cross-country, X-obstacle, race-run.

When did you get the idea?

As a young man (64 years old), I go to visit my son in California and he makes me a surprise: "Dad, I signed you up for a Spartan Race to do together!"

Obviously he knew that I could face it by virtue of my continuous training, as well as those that had led me to practice more than 10 different disciplines in my life.

The race (next photo), also in the presence of Marines as assistants, he conquered me completely: I glimpsed in this, the combination of all the motor acts practiced individually in the other disciplines.

Using the family of sporting children and grandchildren, back in Rome, we set up an ASD (Amateur Sports Association, ed) and, also by virtue of working with the Defense (engineer with Nulla Osta Secretezza), we have received a mandate from the Army staff to organize this type of events in Military Districts, as well as in civilian state areas.

The Xample Sport asd, crossXrace brand makes use of the Libertas Sports Promotional Body recognized by CONI for all organizational acts.

To date, with the experience of more than 20 events organized by crossXrace in Italy (1 also in France), for adults and young people, civilians and military, we have taken note of the genesis of this activity marked by a French soldier named Hebert who , with this design of obstacles of about 1 century ago (following image), he introduced in the military sector a training that brought back to the natural motor act. In 1987 mr. Mouse (also a former British soldier) began to organize events that related to this type of discipline: cross-country running with natural and artificial obstacles.

The advent of the "Spartan Race" since 2010 and many other organizations under the internationally recognized name of the Discipline such as OCR, or "Obstacle Course Racing", have led to a growth of participants worldwide (over 10 million), exceeding those who participate in marathons.

Was the reception immediately positive?

More than positive if the crossXrace has experienced / organized a variety of events on stages that are difficult to find in other realities.

From military sites, where civilians had never before been able to compete such as the Cesano Infantry School, the training camp of the Sabaudia anti-aircraft artillery command, the Bonivento della Cecchignola military training camp, as well as Ovindoli, Cittareale for solidarity with the Abruzzo earthquake victims , Castel di Decima, The Camp in Borgo Montello-Lt, Antibes in France.

On 1 October, there will be a new event at the Torre di Nebbia Shooting Range at the Altipiano delle Murge.

In addition to what has been said, we organize a considerable number of workshops, open days, work-outs, even in squares or historical places, training courses.

All this, together with the current management of the Cecchignola training camp in Rome, also open to civilians for training, has contributed to the growth of the discipline.

Which and how many appointments do you organize during the year?

The type of events is and will continue to bear an imprint that combines the variegated and never the same OCR circuits from one edition to another, albeit in the same locations, with the military standard ones present throughout Italy (CAGSM and CISM) through an experienced model. since 2018 in Cesano. This model assigns the victory in the race that takes place in the standardized military circuits - CAGSM (450mt with 17 obstacles) present in almost all the controls, preceded by an OCR race designed to determine the "starting grid" in the next race, to be held. on the CAGSM. This will also allow to obtain a term of comparison on the times found in a standard field, such as to be able to proclaim the various records (as happens, precisely, in the military world championships where, for example, the record of the CISM circuit - 500mt with 20 hurdles - held by a Chinese athlete with an amazing time of 2'09 ").

Who can participate?

The beauty of this discipline is that it allows EVERYONE to try again what, with natural acts, we did as children: running, jumping, crawling, swimming, throwing, lifting, climbing, pushing, tumbling, staying in balance ..., choosing to participate individually or in a group (in this case, all for one, one for all and you can even help!).

The percentage between civilians and military?

These events are mostly attended by civilians who, by removing their ties or skirts, get back into the game! Sometimes without even paying attention to what they wear ...

The military, albeit in a minority, are approaching this discipline more and more and ... from the results ... they stand out. The fair sex (about 20%) is increasing significantly in percentage, getting closer and closer to male performance. Unfortunately, the participation of young people is still reduced.

Has any injury ever occurred?

Injuries, we know, are a contributing cause in sport (as in normal life unfortunately), and in this discipline, of course, we are not exempt despite all precautions being respected and taken (the use of military vehicles and structures obviously guarantees us a wider guarantee).

In the 8 years of operation, with thousands and thousands of participants, the crossXrace has nevertheless seen the intervention of the ambulance no more than 5 times and only 3 hospitalizations. All events are respectful of the protocols dictated by EPS Libertas recognized by CONI (RCT insurance included).

How much does it cost to participate?

The entry prices are, of course, linked to the costs and the margin (which must be present in every event, except for solidarity). To play a football match (and here I trivialize ... but ...), with 1 ball, 1 referee and 2 linesmen you play the game. This discipline requires you to build obstacles, transport, assemble, disassemble, retransport, store and ensure that there is at least 1 assistant at each obstacle (50-100 people per event). It follows that the prices are proportional to all these expenses.

Prices, on average, are around € 50 but vary according to the many variables that can be found by visiting the site www.crossxrace.it

The main recommendation you give to each event?

None of us knew how to ride a bike at 1 year old, then we trained and now, even if we haven't cycled for a long time, we take it back and we can take a ride. But if we wanted to win the Giro d'Italia, then training would be quite another thing ...

We have mentioned the naturalness of this discipline and so it is, but those deeds that may have remained in the drawer for years must still be "exhumed". In these races you measure your limit. If you fail to overcome an obstacle you will never be disqualified: the obstacle judge will check that you take the time penalty established in the Race Regulations and then resume the course.

The trainings have their value and in this case crossXrace is waiting for you to train in the Italian excellence of the only Italian CISM Military Training Camp of Cecchignola Rome. The same in which the Italian National Military Pentathlon normally trains.

Photo: crossXrace

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