See Rome and run: Sight Jogging invents the tourist run
par Elsa Sidawy | 01.01.11
If you believe the French nursery rhyme, walking one kilometre wears out your shoes… But sometimes you cannot say no to a few morning strides in the Eternal City. Sight Jogging offers visitors that are most in a hurry to explore Rome jogging with sports coaches that are also guides. Carolina Gasparetto, who has a language degree and is a sports teacher, created Sight jogging in 2005 to make visitors enjoy the charms of the Roman capital while devising them an appropriate fitness plan. This custom-tailored service specifically targets foreigners and businessmen in particular, who do not have time to wander about the city’s 7 hills but never travel without a pair of tennis shoes so they can go for their early morning jog. “We offer coaching and an appropriate individual training plan,” the young woman from Rome says. A sports coach, who speaks English, French, Russian or any other language, accompanies every customer in his/her mother tongue: “Most of them are foreigners but they live in Rome and know the city very well,” she adds.
Bookings are made at Sight Jogging at least 24 hours in advance and the sports coach, transformed into a tourist guide, comes directly to the hotel to pick up the customer at the given hour, monitors him/her with an electrocardiogram in order to avoid any incident on the way and defines the difficulty level of the run according to his/her physical fitness. Programmes of about an hour are perfectly adapted to businessmen, who can go to a congress or a conference after their express visit.
There are neither pizzas nor calamari alla romana on arrival but the menu is attractive with no less than 15 different courses: “Customers can choose the area of the city they would like to visit,” Carolina Gasparetto explains. Courses are pre-planned but numerous enough to suit all demands and sporting levels. Beginners will be invited to run the course around the Piazza Navona, a 9 km-long course through a bucolic landscape that can be run within 50 mn. The most ambitious will let themselves be tempted by the Appia Antica course, which goes through Rome’s most emblematic monuments, from the Colosseum to the Palatine hill, and the most religious visitors will be able to go for the “seven churches” theme course. People in wheelchairs will not be left behind since Sight Jogging devised an appropriate course together with the Italian Sports Centre. Finally, since September 2008, Sight Jogging offers group activities, like weekend runs. Between two strides the coach becomes the customer’s tourist guide. “Fares vary between 70 Euros for one person and 120 Euros for a group of four people, taxes not included,” Carolina Gasparetto adds, as she admits making the highest turnover during the warm season. The service is therefore designed for businessmen or passionate sportsmen.
After Versailles’ neuro-visit, the tour of Stockholm worthy of a cat burglar and the blindfolded walking tour of Lisbon, are you ready to train for the Rome marathon and go for something different from the guide with a little flag?
Since its creation, the Sight Jogging concept has already gone around the world: in Berlin, New York, Paris and even Iten in Kenya, home of the world’s greatest long-distance runners, foreigners are offered such tours to experience cities differently. It is therefore possible today to visit the world running, after having taken a look at the Global Running Tours website.
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Translated by Oona Bijasson