"The Sunday Times" November 17, 2002 pg. 28 world news
Faster and faster! 21 hours and 41 minutes was his racing time from Petra to Wadi Rum in 2000, 20 hours 20 min. in 2001, and finally 18 hours 35 min. in 2002, thus improving his already extraordinary record by one hour and 44 minutes and leaving the other finalists behind by more than three hours (the maximum time allowed by the organizationi is 62 hours).
Olmo started at 8:30 in the morning of Tuesday the 5th November. At the 55th km of the race he took the lead and, while temperature was settling at 32°C and 22 competitors decided to withdraw because of sores at their feet, hunger or dehydration crisis, before dawn of Wednesday he had finished the competition. The next day he was already back to Aqaba beach for training.
The Desert Cup is through the same tracks as ridden by Lawrence of Arabia to free the Arabs from the Turks' dominion. Marco Olmo is a member of sporting club Roata Chiusani whose sponsors are Rita Marchisio and Beppe Viale. In June this year he had already won for the second time the Grand Raid International sur les Traces de Cro Magnon (100 km between mountain town Limone Piemonte, Italy and sea resort Cap d'Ail, Côte d'Azur, France, a track were traces of prehistorical Cro Magnon man were found last century). In September he took part with the Italian National Team at the European Race Championships in Gravigny, France, consisting of 200 km on a 1400-metre asphalt ring to be run within 24 hours.
"How to defeat Marco Olmo?" is the title of an article in African-French magazine Shara-news because this man, who ranks amongs the five best athletes in the world in extreme ultramarathones, became no less than 54 years old in Last October and disputed so far seven Marathon des Sables (Marathon of Sands), 7 days and 230 km in absolute feeding self-sufficiency under prohibitive climate conditions in Marocco's desert (arriving three times 3rd, two times 2nd and once 7th), four Desert Cups which is 168 km through the Jordan desert (he won three of them), took part at three Trail du Verdon, 114 km of gorges (one victory, one 3rd and one 4th place), he dominated in two Cro Magnon Raids; he participated once and won in Egypt the 10 Commandments Marathon (156 km on Mount Sinai) preceding by 53 minutes Karim Mosta and setting a time record in climbing the biblic mountain; he raced in Martinica at the Tible Raid (where ge got 5th), not to mention his victories in mountain races or in mountain climbing and than skiing down.
We recently met this record athlete, who worked for 21 years as excavator operator at our Gavota quarry near plant Robilante (Cuneo, Italy). He is very slim, 60 kg and 180 cm tall, with a veil of beard that gives him ascetic look, but with an open and amicable smile, a warm and sincere handshake. A «pure» who doesn't believe too much in energetic bars or sports medicine.
"We would have thought he spends his life running. On the contrary, now we read he lives for running..."
«In reality I started training only since I was 27 because when I was younger there was no time for gymnastics; nevertheless, we walked to school with heavy ledgers and in the Summer we spent long days working hard in the fields. I reckon I have run 3000 km in the desert and, altogether, more then 120,000 km, running at least two hours a day, plus long distances on weekends, without following any training tables. All of this, and as much as possible, out of the town traffic, because I like long distances and views, and especially running where nobody would dare to go and where - alone with my heart beats - I feel well and happy. The race then is the mirror of one's preparation, a challenge of one's limits; and, at the end, the satisfaction is indescribable».