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Fast Together: Yohanes Chiappinelli

Yohanes Chiappinelli ran 2:09 on his marathon debut, setting one of the fastest times for an Italian runner. We talked about his stay at Tuscany Camp and his approach to running.

Yohanes Chiappinelli sitting
Yohanes during our interview.

Right after a late breakfast and a quick shower during our stay at Tuscany Camp, Yohanes jokes about our upcoming interview making sure that we gonna do it in Italian since he is still practicing his English. "I am learning Tunisian and Burundian, just in case we want to do it in another language", he continues joking.

Yohanes Chiappinelli was originally born in Ethiopia and adopted by Italian parents when he was 7 years old, he is one of the new stars of the Italian road running team aiming to participate in the Paris Olympics in 2024. He grew up life in Siena and moved to Tuscany Camp last year. After a bronze medal in the 3,000 steeplechase at the 2018 European Games in Berlin, he decided to venture into longer distances. He ran his first marathon in 2023 in Seville and stopped the clock at 2:09:46 setting one of the fastest times for an Italian runner.

What does run together mean to you?

Running together is fun. Company. It is different than being alone and thinking about yourself all the time. When you are with others you exchange words and have fun. You stimulate each other and compete at the same time. With my teammates here at Tuscany Camp we stimulate each other every day and that's what I like.

yohanes chiappinelli running wood
Yohanes during his workout.

What is the main benefit you gain from being at Tuscany Camp?

The main advantage is having a group to train with, which stimulates me and makes me give my best every day. Then I have a competent coach who I like and who motivates me daily. In addition, having a medical lab and a high-level gym is very important. Races and travel are all organized to the best of my ability so that I can focus only on running.

What was the first thing you thought when you arrived here for the first time?

The first thing I thought was, "Wow this is cool." I was used to training alone while here I found a homogeneous group of guys from all over the world. Some are here full-time while others come for a limited time. For example, when Kenyans who run fast come, I feel even more stimulated. There is an environment that gets you motivated and makes you give your best.

How is living with people who come from all over the world?

I am learning a few words of Burundian and Tunisian. Then, I discovered Tunisian and Ugandan cuisine. I just eat though [laugh].

Yohanes Chiappinelli
Yohanes during a track session.

What is your relationship with running?

Running has been my traveling companion for 15 years now. It is my life. Now, it has become my job. It is as passionate and fun for me as when I started. It has also allowed me to travel the world. I feel lucky to call myself "a runner" and have this talent to cultivate.

How has your training changed in your path from the track to the longer distances?

The change from track to road came when I realized that in the 3000 steeplechase, I felt I had reached my limit. The last few seasons I was not improving as much. So I started thinking about trying my hand at longer distances on the road. Many people were advising me to try it, so I took the plunge. I'm glad I did and I'm seeing the fruits of this work also thanks to Giuseppe. Good job and way to go.

You are getting closer to the best Italian performances of all time, is the National Record an objective for you?

The record is one of my goals but I don't have it fixed in my mind. My main goal is to run hard. If I run hard the record will come.

How is the training approaching the Olympics and searching for qualifying time?

Preparation is progressing at its best. The next marathon will be in February or March 2024. So let's have a great race because it is very difficult to qualify. We are 5-6 athletes for only 3 places. So if I want to go to Paris, and I want to go, I have to run fast.

This interview has been edited.


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