To undertake something like the running decathlon makes it obvious, I think, that I have a passion for running. As if running every day for more than five years did not already bear that out.

But  in Valbruna, Italy, I took a run with a man who makes my love affair with running seem like a teenage crush.

Tadei Pivk (tadeipivk.com) is the 2015 Sky Runner Champion. And he is perhaps the most dedicated runner I have ever met. He runs marathons, and more, with extreme altitude changes that would humble even the most acclimated alpinists. On the day we ran he had already completed a “cross training” that included a bike ride that was the equivalent of riding up Independence Pass, back to Glenwood Springs and then back up the Pass before coming home.

He was told about “The Running Decathlon” and generously agreed to come to a local hut, hear about the event and learn about our quest to raise funds for the Bridging Bionics Foundation. Though we had severe language issues, Tadei instantly grasped the importance of the Bionic Exoskeletons and had been aware of them after seeing a BBC documentary on suits that have been made in Japan.

He also seemed impressed by “The Running Decathlon” concept, though Tadei could complete my entire quest in a single day, with considerably faster times than my entire year’s project. He is built like a cross between a Whippet and a Gazelle and his legs literally reached my chest. His style is so effortless that just watching him run brings both admiration and envy. The irony is that his Slavic name is pronounced “Today” and “Puke.” It makes for a plethora of puns.

 And yes, he got tired, not of running but of my jabbering in English.

And yes, he got tired, not of running but of my jabbering in English.

Running with Tadei got me thinking that part of the joy of running is that it can be so versatile for everyone. Some may love to run up-hill and on the tops of mountain ranges like Tadei, where others want to sprint on a track. Some like a regular low and slow jog, while others want to test themselves in 5Ks and 10Ks.  Me, I like to chase history.

It’s all good.