In the new short film by Black Diamond, “La Gara with Hillary Gerardi,” we get a jaw-dropping look at the mythical Trofeo Kima race in Val Masino, Italy, and what it means to Black Diamond athlete Hillary Gerardi.
In the opening scenes, Ilde Marchetti of the race organization describes how the race was named after and created in dedication to her late brother, who died in service with mountain rescue, and had so revered the Val Masino and its surrounding mountains.
The 52-kilometer race, which takes place every other year, covers extremely technical terrain and is a niche offering in mountain running. For Gerardi, the race has become an integral part of how she sees herself as a runner. The film first sees her take victory in 2018, and then documents her four-year wait to defend her title and challenge Núria Picas’s course record when the race finally returned in 2022, following an interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In case her passion for this race and this place was not evident enough in the film, Gerardi has written a love letter to Trofeo Kima, which reads:
“Kima, I can no longer say I’m inexperienced. I can no longer even claim that I’m ‘not really a
runner,’ but I can say that it has taken me a long time to identify as such. And in some ways, I’m
still deciding about what kind of runner I want to be. But I know one thing for sure. When those
questions and doubts come around, I can point to you and know that I’m home. Kima, you’ve let
me feel like me in a way that most running never has. You’ve helped me identify the runner I
aspire to be. A runner that inhabits the world between the earth and the sky, scales the slopes,
pushes so hard they feel the taste of blood in their mouth, and skips across jumbles of blocks all
while feeling awe at having the privilege to follow the footsteps of those that first drew the line
across jaw dropping landscapes.
A runner that dares to run the risk of failure but will give it all that she’s got for a chance to add
her name to the legacy.