Abbots Way 2024: Epic Changes but the Challenge Continues!

I have some exciting news to share with you today. As you may know, one of the most anticipated trail running events of the year is undoubtedly the Abbots Way, to which I have already registered for the long distance of 125 km, that grueling but stunning route that takes us from the Piacenza Apennines to the peaks of Val Taro, offering breathtaking views along the way. Follow me as I guide you through the recent changes, including a new route.

The African Swine Fever Issue

Unfortunately, this year there was a major issue for the organizers to deal with. The provinces of Piacenza and Parma were declared “red zone” or “zone 2” of attention due to the African swine fever epidemic, which affects wild boars and pigs. This posed a significant challenge for an event that usually runs through those territories!

Preparations and Initial Hypotheses

Naturally, this situation forced several reevaluations. The closure of the railway tunnel that connects Borgotaro to Pontremoli (where the long race and the 35 km race usually finish) due to maintenance during the race weekend required a lot of work.

The Solution: Starting Anew from Val Taro

After careful consideration, the organizers made an epochal decision: to completely change the two longest routes of the race, focusing exclusively on Emilia and avoiding the at-risk areas. A major change indeed!

The Route Updates

Let’s see what the main novelties for Abbots Way 2024 are:

  • Unchanged Start from Bobbio on Friday at 7 pm: The start from Bobbio on Friday evening, April 12, 2024, at 7 pm remains confirmed for the two longest routes. A classic that no one wanted to give up!
  • Finish in Borgo Val di Taro: The finish will no longer be in Pontremoli. All finish lines, except of course for the 60 km (which remains in Bardi), will be relocated to Borgo Val di Taro, in the heart of Val Taro. A small sacrifice for a great goal.
  • The 35 km Becomes a Loop: The 35 km route has been completely redesigned as a large loop with both the start and finish in Borgo Val di Taro. A beautiful circuit through the trails of the Parma Apennines, with breathtaking views like the waterfalls of the Cogena stream.
  • The 120 km Gets Longer: It will maintain the same first part of the classic route until Borgo Val di Taro. From here, however, it will join the 35 km route, thus completing a longer loop than planned.
  • Shuttles from Borgo Val di Taro: For the transport of runners, shuttles will no longer depart from Pontremoli but directly from Borgo Val di Taro, the starting and finishing point of the routes.

Borgo Val di Taro, the New Location

A major novelty will therefore be the arrival and departure area of the race (start of the 35K and arrival of the 125K and 35K). Borgo Val di Taro is preparing to become the beating heart of the event. The start of the 35 km is scheduled for 10 am on Saturday morning (April 13, 2024) from Piazza Verdi, with the idea of ​​turning the town into a true village of the race, with many activities, music, and that festive atmosphere that only the world of trail running can create.

In short, despite the many forced changes, the organizers have shown incredible adaptability, completely overturning the situation to offer us a brand new and exciting Abbots Way 2024 edition, full of surprises.

An Event in Continuous Evolution

After all, it is not the first time that the event has undergone changes over the years. The Abbots Way has always known how to reinvent itself, exploring new paths, embracing new landscapes, and constantly testing both organizers and participants. It is this flexibility and spirit of adaptation that make it one of the most authentic and exciting trail races.

The Challenge Awaits

For us runners, this 2024 edition promises to be a real challenge for the legs. The revised routes will surely hold many surprises and challenges, with new climbs and descents to face. But that’s the beauty of trail running: constantly challenging ourselves, pushing our physical and mental limits while immersed in the wildest nature.

And Borgo Val di Taro promises to be an incredible location, with its Apennine views that will frame the village and the many activities scheduled. A real embrace of Val Taro to its runner guests!

I can’t wait to be at the starting blocks on Friday, April 12th in Bobbio. And you? Are you ready to welcome this new, epochal edition of Abbots Way with open arms? The adventure awaits us, more exciting and unpredictable than ever! To the starting line, runners!