British man set for ten marathon Italy challenge

A British man has taken on the challenge of running the equivalent of ten marathons in seven days through the Italian hills, in tribute to his grandparents.

British man set for ten marathon Italy challenge
Miles Skinner will run 420km from northern Tuscany to the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square to raise money for the Monte San Martino Trust. Photo provided by Mark Skinner

Miles Skinner will run 420km from northern Tuscany to the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square to raise money for the Monte San Martino Trust, a charity dedicated to the memory of heroic Italians during World War Two.

During the war, his grandfather was helped by Italians after being captured in north Africa and imprisoned at Sulmona in southern Italy.

After the Armistice in September 1943, he escaped from the camp he was held at and eventually succeeded in rejoining the Allies.

“All his life, he felt a debt of gratitude to the people of the Italian countryside, who risked their lives by hiding and feeding Allied prisoners such as him who were on the run from the fascists,” Skinner told The Local.

The 29-year-old, who works as a surveyor in London, will join the Vie Francigine, a historical pilgrimage route that runs from northern Europe to Rome, from the Tuscan city of Lucca on April 26th.

“Following my grandfather’s death a few years ago, my grandmother was keen for me to support the charity,” he added.

“After she passed away last year, I was determined to take up a sizeable physical challenge with a connection to Italy, so as to help, in a small way, to give something back to the Italian people.”

He has previously run marathons and raised nearly £15,000 (€20,669) after running the Stockholm ultra-marathon in 2013.

“I wanted to choose something as difficult as possible this time, not only to push myself to the limit but also so that I could persuade people to be generous in giving to the charity,” he said.

“I am excited and looking forward to it but also naturally a little bit nervous because of the enormity of the challenge.”

Skinner has so far raised £11,000 (€15,158) on Just Giving and is hoping to reach £12,500 (€17,225).

The Monte San Martino Trust awards bursaries for young Italians to study at English-language schools in London and Oxford. 

By Anna Pujol-Mazzini

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German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.