Ryan Farrugia and Charlie Cilia are not new to running. Taking part in (and winning) various trail runs and obstacle courses over the years, the two Maltese legends took to Sicily last weekend to take part in a gruelling 17km trail running race, the first of the Ecotrail Sicilia league. The result they achieved couldn’t have been better, as the two Maltese runners took the first and second places.
The historic 1-2 win was on a countryside trail in Ragusa without any paved roads. The Sunday win marks Ryan Farrugia’s first international victory, who has been running for three years now. A national athlete on the Mountain Running Team, Ryan often participates in international races in Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland, regularly getting top 10 results. It was the first time Farrugia participated in the Sicilian Trail League, however. “I definitely didn’t expect to win,” he told Lovin Malta, even though he did lead the 200-runner strong pack from the very beginning.
Also participating was Charlie Cilia, another local trail runner who Ryan affectionately described as a “Maltese running legend.” Charlie came in second, helping cement the historic Maltese doppietta on foreign soil.
Ryan thanked his coach Ivan Rozhnov, who he said made this and other wins possible, as well Teamsport Malta for supporting local talent like him.
“Trail running is my passion, and it allows me to connect with nature and get completely immersed in the moment,” Ryan told Lovin Malta. “I sometimes forget that I’m running!”
Ryan went on to say that thanks to the worldwide trail races he competes in, he manages to combine his two passions in life; sports and travel.