Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2009 Verona Marathon live experience

This post describes a live experience for the February 2009 Verona Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original Verona Marathon live experience.
Verona is in the top 10 of the Italian ranking (number 8) from the number of participants and has grown significantly in the last 2 years.

I ran the first two editions of the Verona marathon in May 2001 and 2002, then, because the date was changed, and the designed route was not that excellent, I decided not to go there anymore. I guess this was the choice of many runners, since in 2007 this race has been completed by less than 400 runners. I wanted to give a try again to this eighth 2009 edition (unknown number by the organizers, or better say, first of the new series), knowing that I had sufficient preparation, so intrigued by this early date, normally the absolute monopoly of the marathon in the south. And then, there was a loophole, cleverly left by the organizers, to be able to divert the path of the half marathon. Because of this an impressive number of runners has approached this race. More than 3400 has finished the race in 2009 (note: 5200 in 2010), making them one of the top 11 marathons in Italy (2009 data, 8th in 2010), with its 956 (1722 in 2010) classified, and also one of the most heavily used half marathon on the peninsula. Some noted that if the Modena Carpi marathon instead of just worrying about celebrities and TV footage, they did a half; they would have got a success that would not even dream about it. Of course Carpi does not need our advice.

Recently, too many “super marathon runners” have been seduced by Verona, although the same day they had the ritual event on the sands of St. Benedict. The fares for the Verona marathon helped here as well, since they were set as low as 20 euro.

The location of arrival and departure area certainly off art fair, yet comfortable for the parking lot, the spacious covered, hot showers at any time (although without a true locker room).
The choice of location was also smart in the sense that the first half, roughly along the west of the Adige river, was all in all nice and smooth (so that it was rumored that the top runner and Olympics gold medalist Baldini would have tried to beat his personal best at the half marathon), encouraging to continue after 17.6 km where was the fork. The second half was rather somewhat bleak, with ups and downs over all continuous heavy traffic on the highway to Vicenza (but it was supposed to be a green day!), exclusion from the monumental area except for the Arena (passing over the Castelvecchio and the Scaliger bridge, although promised by a photo of the brochure, was reserved for marathoners means, and also the sites of Romeo and Juliet we saw them only in a postal card). The last straw was a ridiculous back and forth at th 30 km, with no control (and yes we put on the RFID chip), but now we had thrown the dice, and who could not take any more he had to continue, at the most cutting those 500 meters.

In the pre-competition, it was excellent the delivery of our numbers. We were a lot in the morning (despite the invitation to come on Saturday) but we ran into a perfect assembly line that, except in special cases, has come on in reasonable time. Moreover latecomers were justified, meaning that the start was delayed by one quarter of an hour (I was reminded of the Prussian-respect of a Calderara 40 days ago, when many were still reaching the departure area).

It was also impressive, near Verona fair and all the way, the deployment of our military service. Though, when after noon the car traffic restarted, it took a bit more authority to block whoever was inserted on our roads. But, Mr. Mayor, what sense does it make a day with three hours of ecological hole in the middle, with the result that all traffic of the day is concentrated in those hours? Okay, we were traveling in separate lanes, but the exhaust gases do not care about barriers and tapes.

The level of refreshments in the first half where average, when we were in almost 4000; it was much better in the second part however. The pasta party at the end of the competition was agreeable (but we had to pay the wine or to scrounge to some friends), the pack-race was rich enough, with a Technical long-sleeve shirt and a backpack as original pieces. The monetary prizes were given equally for men and women, except for a shared penalty in case of poor timing: thus, only the first male has caught whole number, while all others have taken a half (and in fact, 3000 euro from 2h51 for the female winner seemed too much).

For us ordinary people, the medal is nice, but pretty ambiguous: it was the same for the full marathon and the half. Okay, we paid the same amount and the organizers could not predict how many would choose one or the other way, but who will ban now one of 2552 to fly his medal at the bar, claiming to have run 42 km? In this world of marathon where we compete for the highest number of marathons and where we said 'he has done more than you did but I will make two more', and not everyone who collects the data has the time to use rigor in the analysis, it is not strange that a medal would be invoked as evidence.

The weather has also helped; it was sunny and almost lukewarm enough.
Well, I think this experience deserves to have a follow up next year. After the proven success of Venice, Padua and Treviso, is Veneto becoming the first region in Italy for marathons?

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