Nicola Zuccarello expresses himself with the same speed with which he runs: always fast but carefully choosing his words. He’s one of the youngest on the Venicemarathon pace team, for more than one reason: his age and having started running only a decade ago. Since a young boy he’s always been into sports, playing soccer near his hometown in the Euganean Hills near Venice, and then devoting himself to mountain biking at a near professional level.

He dreamed of going to live in Australia and had his bags packed when he had the classic fatal encounter that changes your life, meeting Federica who soon led to the altar. After the wedding bells he moved to Porto Viro where they made their home. But he had to look for another sport to practice on flat terrains. "I've always been attracted to endurance sports," says Nicola, nicknamed Zucca, or Pumpkin. "Also, I felt a strong need to challenge myself and do something really difficult. Around our new home there was so much countryside and long and flat roads that stretched for miles and miles. So I decided to start running ". Nicola is tall and super light. He trained four times a week with a single pair of shoes, which arrived in very poor condition at the start of his first marathon. Despite this, he crossed the line in 3:13  "I was satisfied but I immediately realised that I still had something in me, so I promised myself to improve."

Three years ago the Zuccarello family welcomed their first child, Enea, and running took another dimension. Today Nicola prefers to devote most of his free time to his son and find some time for training. He gets up before five in the morning and runs for about ninety minutes before going to work. On the weekend, the alarm clock is always set at dawn, but he doubles the training time and then gets home in time to have breakfast with his family.

In October, he’ll be ready to lead the three-hour pacer group. "The group that follows us from Stra is composed of about thirty athletes. It’s always pretty compact and smooth until San Giuliano Park (at the 20th mile) but from that point on the athletes start to have self doubt seep in. Those who stay confident and convinced make it to the finish line in time ".

Does Zucca have a special running dream? "Last year, for various reasons, I had to give up the day before leaving for the Spartathlon. I hope sometime in the future to be able to race there. In my fantasy Enea is there waiting for me with a good glass of wine ". Here at Venicemarathon we hope your dream comes true!