BASSANO DEL GRAPPA – There is a white puppy that attracts a lot of attention for its sweetness and liveliness in the parterre before the arrival of BMW Jesolo Moonlight Half Marathon last Saturday. There is to keep him on a leash Meron Ghebrehiwet Faniel while his older brother, Eyob, competes in the Venetian half marathon and struggles to win. Meron is not alone, he is with his girlfriend and with the whole Faniel family, a wonderful extended group that follows him and cheers on him. Self Eyob Ghebrehiwet Faniel he is a great champion and the fastest marathon runner Italy has ever had to date is undoubtedly due to the ‘pack’ that follows him. Everywhere.
THE FAMILY – Besides Meron, there is the father Ghebrehiwet Faniel Hailemother Mitslal Ogbu Zeruthe older brother Solomon Ghebrehiwet Faniel and of course there is Ilariahis partner and mother of two beautiful girls for six years: Wintana and Liya.
In the mind of our champion, today the bearer of Fiamme Oro, born in Asmara in 1992, the capital of Eritrea, there is a bit of disappointment over his sporting performance on Saturday night. Yes, he finished second, but something did not go as he wanted: “I would have liked to have driven better, but it was a test, and that’s what this kind of race is for. Now I know what I need to do and how I need to train in the coming weeks to be ready for the marathon EM which takes place on 15 August in Munich. It is the races that teach you something ”.
VALUES – “We are very close – says Eyob looking at the family photo taken on Saturday night in Jesolo – I received important family values from my parents, this reflects what we actually do, yes we are very united. Now with my partner and my girls I also have my little family. My brothers are my best friends, Meron has recently returned to Italy after seven years of work in Germany and we have seen a little, but the contact has always been strong. They always follow me everywhere, another stimulus in the various races. We always have fun together on the many trips ”.
THE FORTH – Eyob arrived in Italy when he was 12, in 2004: “I consider myself very luckyI have two different cultures inside me, both the Eritrean because I spent my childhood there and the Italian because I have ultimately lived here since my teens. I know the two cultures very well, I consider it a wealth. For example, my parents arrived in Italy when they were over 40, of course they are more closed on different aspects “.
And then everyday life mixes, cultures coexist: “Also on Sunday we all went home for lunch, I made meat on the grill and then we made Eritrean coffee which involves several hours of work, you have to roast and paint, a real process. Sometimes we meet and eat both Italian and Eritrean thanks to my mother who is an excellent cook. Again, I feel very rich in being so lucky to be able to combine the two. When I’m gone, when I’m gone, these are moments I almost look forward to ”.
300 DAYS – When Faniel says ‘to be gone’, he means months and whole monthsbecause there are many races around the world, see for example the New York marathon where he finished third in November or at the Olympics in Tokyo in August, as well as dozens and dozens of other trips and races, but also because he trains and consequently almost lives in Kapsabet, 2200 meters above sea level, in the highlands of Kenya with his coach Claudio Berardelli and his training buddies: “I am away about 300 days a year, already this week I am returning to Kenya. Even though I’m not home, I try to be a father, to be close to my family. True, there is the distance, but it is sacrifices that I want and must make. I love athletics, it’s my job, I do it for myself, but also for the future of my children. I do things 100%, and to go to Kenya to train to find the maximum concentration and the maximum athletic form to achieve the athletic goals that I have set for myself is part of my job “.
PARTISANS – Important values in Eyob’s soul, dictated by his parents: “My father arrived in Italy in 1998, he had to undergo surgery after injuries sustained in Eritrean War of Independence. Then the times here in Italy became longer for him, to support himself and bear the many costs he began to work until he was employed indefinitely as a worker. Like my father, my mother was also a partisan, she was at war and fighting from her 14 to 30 years, then independence came and she stayed at home with me and my brothers. After a long bureaucratic process, the documents finally arrived in 2004 and we were able to arrive we also in Italy to be all“.
BOSTON – Yes, there is Bostonthe most recent, four-legged mercury runner: “It’s our Boston, because it’s it the marathon I did not do in April. Everything was ready, I had been training for several months for the big goal of winning that marathon, but an injury a few days earlier prevented me from starting, and of course I did not travel to the United States. I should have been taken directly from Kenya, but instead I went back to Italy and the opportunity presented itself to take him. If I had gone to Boston, I might not have had this big breakthrough. He is our Boston ”.