The Italian Marcialonga is a 70km race arranged annually on the last Sunday in January in the Province of Trento. The idea of the Marcialonga dates back to 1969, and is inspired by the brilliant performance of the Italian Franco Nones in Grenoble Olympic Games the year before, in which he took the gold medal in the Men´s 30km. As enthusiasm for cross country skiing mounted, the idea of creating something similar as the Swedish Vasaloppet developed, adding typical Italian warmth, seasoned with lots of imagination to match the exertion of covering such long distances.
The first problem was “where” to hold an event of this size and the two valleys of Fiemme and Fassa immediately sprang to mind. The first race was to be held in 1971, open to everyone, was better known for the 50.000 leaflets dropped by an airplane over the valley to publicize it among the inhabitants. In the end the name “Marcialonga”, Long March, was chosen.
The 70km course starts on the plain of Moena, Val di Fassa, and finishes in Cavalese, Val di Fiemme. After the start the course climbs 20km through the villages of Soraga, Vigo, Pozza, Campitello and Canazei, where competitors then turn around to head downhill to Moena and on towards Predazzo before starting the last part which goes through the villages of Ziano, Panchià, Lago di Tesero, Masi di Cavalese, Castello-Molina. After 67,5km the most famous and hardest part begins, the Cascata climb, where the athletes struggle up the serpentines to the finish in the centre of Cavalese.