Thursday, April 22, 2010

2009 Trieste Bavisela Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the 2009 Trieste Bavisela Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original 2009 Bavisela Trieste Marathon live experience. Trieste Marathon is in the top 20 of the Italian ranking (number 16) from the number of participants, and it is very international in term of partecipants. As reader, you might also be interested at the 2008 Bavisela Trieste Marathon live experience.

As one very inspired writer could hardly create a plot so lively as it was my last week, it would be equally difficult for me to predict a surprising ending of this story as well. Let's abandon the seriousness of everyday life and let's dream about the emotions that the marathon can give us, marathon that always requires effort, sacrifice, dedication, but most often rewarded with immense satisfaction that are not necessarily linked to the fastest time. 

The Trieste Marathon has now reached its first decade and, although unable to take off as  participation (544 arrived yesterday), it is one of the key events of my spring. The classic distance is flanked by the 42 km relay marathon, the Marathon of Two Castles which kicks off from Duino Bavisela and non-competitive part of the Castle of Miramare. 

The confluence of this diverse group of athletes running different distances happens on the promenade, crossing Barcola to see its culmination in the arrival in Piazza Unità d'Italy. The whole event is organized at best, this year there was a small change in the route with the decision to place the arrival at the Piazza in the opposite direction. This requires a C-shaped ride that does not convince me, because it does not allow free flow of human tide at certain times which could be potentially very large. 

Let's talk about my race. Tension is written on my face, I must admit, since I have placed great expectations at the Trieste Marathon. It was the ultimate goal of a 4-month preparation period in which I ran 5 beautiful marathons (Salento, Barcelona, Rome, Treviso, Vienna) that had to be only intermediate steps. In the morning I have told my friend Mark Grimaz that every second in this race was essential, the clear objective was to be able to run at 4 minutes /km. Marco was really surprised, because he knows that my relationship with race and marathon is almost never dependent on the result. I am physically prepared and psychologically ready with nervous energy that I need to unwind. Also the weather conditions are optimal: hazy sky and acceptable temperature. 
Ritual photos with friends, dressing and then I start to make even a slight warming (unusual practice for me before a race long distance). In the starting area I see Fabio Marri, it takes little to make him long and interesting talk but today's goal is to run. I am strangely relaxed, wandering in the start area to greet people all around the places, I get together with friends, I am aware of new converts. The starter ends the waiting time, we all should let our legs go, making sure however they can support us until the arrival at Piazza Unità. I did not get influenced from somebody starting at full throttle, I hope that Marco stays at my side, since he has good feeling in pace management. A couple of miles flying by in a flash at a rate slightly higher, we are around 3'50'' at km; madness or perhaps a gamble. The Marathon is a faithful companion, but woe to disrespect, mistreat especially in the beginning, it presents the bill. Today the bill can be seen at the Miramare Castle when runners finish its descent. I make the choice to continue on high pace, feel that the heart beats faster than usual but in life sometimes it is necessary to take risks, to get involved, groped fortune, revealed, come out. It can happen to remain scorched but can also happen to bring home a surprise. 

I run in groups or at least never isolated, I give a tribute to the fallen of World War I during the transition from Shrine Redipuglia, I noticed the split at the 10km marks with 38min24sec (average 3'50''per km). I am now at stake at this time, since slowing down now would be useless, the only choice is to persist in this tactic. Along the way the little public crossings in these villages is very warm, somebody is calling me by name (I'm wearing a tank top custom), I am however highly concentrated and I only reply with a nod. An athlete that is at his first marathon is running alongside me, we exchange a few words and warn of approaching the tough uphill stretch that starts at km 19. 

The uphill path determines the increase in my focus, I hide myself from the world. My attention goes into managing the shortest path in the curves, always choose the direction that allows me to do less road, slightly increase the pressure to compensate for the slope and lose as little as possible. The split at the 20 km mark was still good at 4'06''. In the town of Duino, I have to turn right to reach the carpet that marks the half marathon, noticing that in the parallel street there are friends departing for the half marathon. I then receive many incitements from friends ready to go for the relay marathon. The transition to half is 1h21:49. The confluence of the two races brings me a delighted surprise, I find myself alongside those that run on my own pace. I found among those individuals Cristian Gerussi with whom often I "fight" in short races and who has been repeatedly "to my tow "in his attempts to break down the wall of 3 hours. I do not have the courage to ask him to keep me at least once but as often happens in life the feeling of working more explicit requests and I will make the side and go. With two people, the climb is completed faster and better, until the 25 km I have lost only about fifteen seconds. The village of Aurisina marks the end of fear but also the awareness that in the next km of downhill we can not save ourself. I am surrounded by friends participating to the half marathon, and I let myself following the freshness of their rhythm. I look at the split: 3'49'', 3'51'', 3'55'', then again 3'40'' at the 34km (full downhill), 3'43''to Miramare. I am only missing seven kilometers at the end, the dream begins to become concrete, a look on the right, the horizon is something indefinite, sea and sky come together. On the descent I reached some runners, while I see other individuals among the half marathon runners. 

I stand as a goal to reach a girl who is ahead in the half, it is a slow but steady comeback, while at my side the beauty of nature is nurtured by the trail of rose colored Bavisela participants. I embrace many inducements, I recognize someone but I am obviously tense, concentrated, I give up even the hint of feedback. 

I feared that the flat path would have brought a marked slowdown chrono and instead I notice that at each mark the chrono is always less than 4 '/ km. My exploit is almost made but with my insatiable wonder, I ask my legs to make the last effort. I start to shoot a friend of exercises a couple of years ago, my gesture is in no way a gesture of defiance but to become a stimulus, a means to reach the highest possible goal. I reached him at the 40th km, I run side by side, escapes some "touch", he redeems; I proceed with my pace and I overtake him.  I understand that this butt will be a harbinger of an increased pace in the last kilometers, "touches" become "healthy elbow" as a middle distance race, we are now in Piazza Unità, the mark 42km, with an eye split (3'44''is the result of the fight). Now the exploit has finally been accomplished, I return after four years to enjoy time for framing. I enjoy it at least in these last 200 meters, greeting the audience cheers, and there is a gesture of anger at the bad luck. With me under the banner, the announcement of the speaker making public my joy and my final time. I finish my 156th marathon with a time of 2:43 '55''in 17th absolute position. I would not have even seen in a mirage, but this time is real, it is there on that clock and I enjoy it. In the moments after the marathon I receive compliments from many people. I share this satisfaction with all those who have crowned their dreams and those who, for one reason or another, must defer to the next.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2008 Florence Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the November 2008 Florence Marathon (or Firenze Marathon) and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find an Italian translation from the original posting on the 2008 Florence Marathon live experience. Reader can also check the 2009 Florence Marathon live experience. The next 2010 Florence Marathon is scheduled on the 28th of November 2010.

At 8:30am, my brother Luke and Elena accompanied me near the start of the 25th Marathon of Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo. We are approximately 7,000 competitors.

I got the strange impression that Bavisela was already crowded. Actually, Firenze cannot really be compared to mountains competitions.
It is cold, with lots of annoying drizzle. I avoid warming up, because I then need to stop for few minutes in the cold before the departure.

After greeting Luke and Helen, I enter the 3 hours 40 minutes corral, that is the time that I intended to do. Let's hope so but, unlike Bavisela, in Florence I do not know the way, I did not even bother to look on the map of Florence. This was an impromptu marathon and will be so until the last!

At 9:20am, with the live Rai, we go! We wait for 2 minute before passing the real starting line, we walk, then, little by little, we find the space and begins to run. The cold, little by little, disappears.

The first kilometers are on a beautiful run down. I keep a fairly sustained pace (for me at least), running to the left, on a pedestrian street that runs alongside the main road, via Nicolo Machiavelli, that leads, down, up to Porta Romana. I would like to visit the Boboli Gardens, but today is not the case. It will be for next time.
The long and beautiful descent is over, we then start the tour inside the city.

The people, by the roadside or from the windows, participates actively in the marathon, cheering and encouraging the athletes. And this one is the big differences compared to the known Bavisela. In Trieste, there was much of the route in quiet areas with few people, with the exception of arrival in Piazza Unità d'Italia. Here in Florence, however, the presence of people encouraging the runners is practically constant. This helps both the race! Thanks!

The Virtual Trainer Garmin Forerunner informs me that I am ahead of time that I set. Here, in a hurry, I set the units of measurement in miles and I forgot to set the alarm for every km, which has always proved to be of some use. Patience. I forget to look at my GPS and I run with my feeling, trying not to massacre them too.

I skip the first refreshment: I do not feel the need, with the Florence moisture I do not feel the need to drink and snack. Time and kilometers pass, arriving at 21th with a time of 1h44, well, a normo-athlete like me!

A little at a time, I reach the pacers for the three and a half hours, just before a refreshement. Well! Too bad that, after the refreshement, I can not reach them and I was hoping that I could increase the pace, but a series of red flags, they put me on alert. I do not want to end up like the previous marathon after finishing, I was destroyed. I could not get up and I was dizzy. Never more so.

I reached the fateful 30km in Via Magenta, with a time of 2.23h.
The most boring run will reveal to be the Cascine Park: the refreshments with lots of energy bars, energade, bananas etc. enliven this tedious tract. Boring perhaps because I felt the fatigue. In the distance I see the pink balloons of 3 hours and thirty, but: nothing, I just can not reach them.

The last miles, the center of Florence, are the best. Applause and encouragement of the public are getting stronger, runners feel the adrenaline! Beautiful!
I pass the finish line with a 3:28:23 RealTime: a good result for me! I congratulate myself. "Bravo David!"

I feel tired, but not destroyed. Someone else competitor stumbles, dragging his legs. Like me in the previous marathon. Mistakes we learn.

Immediately after the line comes the most annoying part: the delivery of chips. We are herded like cattle into a narrow street cordoned off, sweaty and tired in the cold,  luckily that several volunteers are doing their utmost to give us the profits sheets "Heat", which we repaired properly cold.
I had not anticipated all of this mess: I can not find Luke and Helen. I enter a bar located upon arrival (after having received the 5 euros for the security of the chip), I got a coffee and I requested a free of charge phone call. Call home (one of the few numbers I know by heart). "'Hello, this is me. I arrived earlier than expected ... Luke alerts direct to go home, ok? .. yes, well ... everything! "

Ahead of schedule. Small satisfaction! After I give myself another hour or satisfaction, in fact, two: two nice kebab in a row, just to replenish the protein. And in the evening at home in Trieste, I cornered Steaks. So much of my desires of vegetarianism.

It is 4pm and the time to take the train back to Trieste. At the station you immediately notice the marathon ... who is wearing the jacket of the goody bag, medal and those who, like me, is teetering slightly, cursing every step.
By train I sit next to another runner. Rumor is a little bit, until the classic question: "What time did you?" - I rejoice: 3.29h. The runner in front of me, not very young but definitely in shape, from Bologna, said to me: 2.50h. Oh my, I said: six training sessions per week give great results. It is for sure better than my 3 fickle training sessions!

What can I say: beautiful Florence, the beautiful location and impeccable organization. To be redone! See you next year, Florence!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2010 Milan City Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the April 2010 Milan City Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original 2010 Milano City Marathon live experience. Milan City Marathon is in the top 5 of the Italian ranking from the number of participants.

April 11, 2010 Milano City Marathon.
There should have been a great event, but for sure we found a lot of wind. All the numbers that have been indicated at Milan Marathon press conference, blown away later completely. Should we consider a great marathon with 3400 people at the finish line?
With over 5 thousand starters already counting those which took half marathon? With 7 thousand members counting the relays? Just by adding the the audience, I believe that Milan could possibly compete with  Rome in term of attendance....

Compared to the past, we have seen some interesting news, some successful attempt to change things, but the relationship between Milan and the marathon is still very complicated.
Among the news it was the departure, which could be called "Venetian" (just by thinking about Stra departure for Venice, Vedelago for Padua, Vittorio Veneto for Treviso), rather than American, that is offset from the city. In my opinion this is a very acceptable choice, with support for Metro (free, other welcome news), but not parking (fares were incredibly high): better leave the car a few stops earlier.
The location is pretty bleak, perhaps with the aid of a gray and windy day, but the trucks to deliver runners bags are well positioned and easily accessible (remember the attacks to the military trucks in the Central Station in Milan). Around the desert, however, few toilets, three small tents as dressing . A pretty limited area for a great event! With all the cubature around us, not even a pavilion available for a couple of hours?
The starting area looks strange. We got melancholy of the Colosseum (Rome), Piazza Michelangelo (Florence), Parco del Valentino (Turin), without quoting the Champs Elisées in Paris or the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. We are like in a Fellini film, "The Road" and just, there is more. The starting corrals are well positioned, with controlled access, from where we are (deep down, unfortunately) you still can hear well the speakers.
After the first kilometers traveled in absolute tranquility outside Milan at San Siro we are the first contact with traffic. Very close encounter, athletes run having cars on the side but drivers are quiet, perhaps sleepy. Beautiful step-stage racetrack on avenues that seemed made to run for thousands people. The calm did not last long: in the Montagnetta area, the half-track slows the flow of people going to the lakes, traveling alongside cars aligned, it begins the Milan Marathon pollution.
I will not describe everything I have encountered, I can only say that in some places it was possible to do a good job of prevention, preventing cars to get close to the course. In some places this has not happened, there was the usual confusion, but without excesses that have made this famous race. But it was a crescendo from door to door, from the calm of Porta Nuova and Porta Volta (armored) to total chaos Porta Romana and Porta Genova.

Gold Medal to all firefighters and volunteers who have dedicated themselves to our protection. Runners have also appreciated volunteers, that offered many encouragements, the public was even "hottest" in the coldest wind zones of the city such as Piazza Duomo.
One of the positive note was the increase in bands, runners always appreciated everything they play. In term of music, it was also appreciated half a kilometer of music by Radio Deejay in Corso Sempione.
It was announced that inside the bags we found a sponge to be used in the race to avoid an "environmental catastrophe." However, the old system prevailed instead: "take the towel, throw in the towel." So in some places, since the sky was gray, at least the roads were blue....
The Milan Marathon was announced "the world's fastest route." The wind and the lack of star players (was it really a great event?) have failed to test this prediction, I personally doubt it, the path on the old ring was much more streamlined for people running at 20 km per hour.

The arrival at the Castle is a good solution, worthy of a great event, what it is behind a bit less. Cramped conditions, without shelter, showers distant to reach on foot. Plus yesterday I had to find the medal and I got the bag Enervit, I have not figured out how and where it was delivered, but it is my fault I was pretty dazed.

So I participated to a normal marathon, not to a big event, there was less intolerance, but Milan does not like the marathon and, despite the adjustment of the course, the marathon is not (yet) suitable for its citizens.
In conclusion, I think that the relay has been most successful event: it has mobilized athletes, celebrities, solidarity, imagination. At the relay we breathed fresh air in certain areas, enthusiasm was felt, it seemed that relay was the main event! So why not cultivate a different event, with a short course and less invasive, with more public boundary, with mixed teams of celebrities and mere mortals, and Sunday runners, politicians, with space for solidarity and creativity?

Friday, April 16, 2010

2010 Lucca Marathon: already opened the enrollments

The organizers of the Lucca Marathon have already started accepting enrollment for the second edition. This year the event will take place on October 24th 2010 and is becoming an international event. Numerous requests for information from outside national boundaries confirm that Lucca, the famous town of "walls", represents great interest to combine sport and cultural activities. In the first edition Lucca had more than 2% of the total number of runners participating from abroad, including a Canadian and Brazilian. As last year, the marathon will end in Piazza San Michele, one of the most beautiful squares of Lucca.
The organization has put through several changes for this second edition. This includes that modification of the technical partner, Brooks Running, and the agreement with the Pisa Marathon which takes place in Tuscany on December 19th 2010. With Pisa, it will be awarded in a gala early next year the top five teams with the highest number of members who will close the 84.390 km.
The fee for the marathon is pretty low (30€ till June, 40€ till the end of August and 55€ thereafter). For female, there is also good deal: registering by June, you will get free 2011 membership, by finishing the 2010 Lucca Marathon. As for many other Italian Marathons, the medical certificate is necessary to participate. Lucca travel packages linked with the marathon are provided to make tourism incentives.

To learn more about the Marathon, the 2009 Lucca Marathon Live experience link is available.

Monday, April 12, 2010

2009 Piceno Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the May 19th 2009 Piceno Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original Piceno Marathon live experience. The Piceno Marathon is in the top 30 of the Italian ranking (number 23) from the number of participants, it is one of the oldest marathon in Italy, being already at the 28th edition (2010). Along with the Collemar marathon, it is run in beautiful places in the Marche region. However, contrary to Collemar, it is in a flat race with Porto San Giorgio and Porto Sant'Elpidio. The post below refers to the old course starting from Grottazzolina, which was the starting point in the last 7 years, before the move to Porto San Giorgio.
This is the main philosophy of the Piceno marathon: "We have the ambition to communicate broadly the spirit of everything which represents our territory: entrepreneurship, small-scale industry, profession, culture, education, traditions relating to land, BEAUTY. This spirit never stops running!"

Thanks for posting my result. I would like to say that the timing of the race is not really excellent, but taking into consideration that the temperature at 11 am reached 30 degrees Celsius and the path is not suitable for runners who want to close a marathon well, I do really feel satisfied. Well, I can tell you my experience in short, maybe some friends or runners will think next year to participate in this race, they will benefit from my experience.

08:40 am and the marathon started. We were around 400 runners. There was also about 1000 participants for the 10 km race. We all started together. So real-time, but we literally walked for at least 50 m. We then run within Grottazzolina, the path is pretty undulating, and we crossed after 4 km the starting line again, then the path leads to Fermo at about 18km. At the 6th km mark, the runners are confronted with the choice to go right to continue for the marathon, left for the 10 km. Everything goes well: the feelings are positive, flat and straight path amidst very beautiful hills, green galore, majestic trees, two-storey houses, with beautifully tended gardens, festive grandparents who happily playing with their grandchildren. Temperature is rising at 21 km, I have passed the half marathon with good timing for me of 1h40 and 30 seconds. Everything proceeds normally. At 23 km, I began recording times exceeding the 5 minutes / km.
and I realize that before me a long stretch of asphalt slightly uphill. At the end of the day, I flatter myself that this slope will have to end sooner or later, then go ahead with a sacrifice. Miles after miles I arrived exhausted at 38 km, there in complete darkness. Many fellow runners stop, some were walking, I still need to complete about 3 km of a  steepest ascent. I notice some hints of cramps in the calves. At refreshment I need to stop, and actually my pace is about 7 minutes per km. My thinking is that I still need to close this race and that time has only a relative value. Finally, among the various hardships and pain I arrive to finish straight. Satisfaction: this is my third Marathon that I was able to complete. I thought I would have retired at around 37 km, for the first time since I'm a runner. The brain only rebelled against that crazy idea, however I had nothing left to give physically! Let me give advice to some joker: in marathons maths don't work, comparisons of certain races do not work the same, who wants to check and compare the times of races in different locations makes himself or herself only confused. Every race and event that takes into account of different location, different weather conditions, different period of the year, etc. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2010 Naples Marathon: more than 320 runners will partecipate

One week before the 12th edition of the Naples Marathon, there are already 328 runners who will partecipate to this event.92% of the runners come from Italy, while the other 8% are mainly from France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Belgium and Hungary. 1700 runners will take part to the other events (half marathon, 4km).

The organizers of the Naples Marathon don't expect or aim that the event becomes the first marathon in Italy, but it is sure that in the next few years this Marathon can grow significantly. All runners coming from abroad should consider to include in their travel plan this marathon. The departure and finish line will be in Piazza del Plebiscito, where the athletes will receive the medal designed by Salvatore Squillante. This medal depicts a charming postcard of Naples, with Vesuvius, the sea and Castel Ovo. According to mr. Squillante the Gulf of Naples is in line with the four elements with which the man always lives: air, fire, earth and water. The image of athletes running close to the water coming out of the Gulf, says the artist, represents the struggle and the will to live everyday in a healthy environment and in a context linked to nature.

Friday, April 9, 2010

2010 Collemar marathon: almost 800 runners already enrolled

Almost 800 runners have already registered on the Collemarathon website and will participate to the May 2nd 2010 event. This number is certainly expected to grow and it is easy to imagine that the day of the event more than 1000 runners will take part to the eight edition of this exciting marathon. It is also possible to beat the 2009 number of enrollment. We expect that more than 800 runners will arrive at the finish line in Fano in May 2010, confirming the 12th position in the Italian marathon ranking.

Like last year, however, the number of foreign runners have been reduced, most likely because they got attracted by most famous marathons, heavily advertised abroad. This is pretty unfortunate, since they will will lose the opportunity to participate in an event of undeniable charm that brings athletes from the hills to the sea in the Marche region, by beautiful villages and views across the region. Although the Collemar marathon is fast growing in Italy, it is still maintaining an human dimension and makes all of them at ease, thanks to the great efficiency of the organization.

To learn more about this marathon and its strengths and weaknesses, you can read the Collemar Marathon 2009 live experience.

Monday, April 5, 2010

2009 Pisa Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the May 19th 2009 Pisa Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original Pisa Marathon live experience. The Pisa  Marathon is in the top 30 of the Italian ranking (number 21) from the number of participants, and it is expected to move up in the ranking. The 12th edition of the marathon has been moved from May to December 19th 2010, to avoid the heat that had influenced the runners in the previous edition, and to make easier for tourists-runners to spend more time in the city.
At the following link you can find the 2009 Pisa Marathon ranking.

It is been a great weekend of sports emotions, on Saturday evening with the great joy for Inter's 17th Championship and on Sunday for having completed a marathon of Pisa with the first warm season temperatures. I spend the night on the eve sleeping little and bad because of the heat.

I wake up at 6 am up and after breakfast I changed myself and Giusy accompanied me to Pontedera with the agreement that she will then come and collect me on the arrival in Pisa. Arriving at the parking place in Pontedera at 730am where I meet my dearest friends Klaus, Cech and MJ, just missing the call Arturo whom we will find later as engaged as 4h and 30 Pacer. I greet the friend Morelli showing him the jersey of the Inter centenary I have in the backpack and wear at the end of the marathon. Having joked and talked about this and that, we go to the departure, not before having made a stop at the bar in the square where we have breakfast and meet with Arturo with Pacer balloons. The temperature is already high at about 18° C, the weather forecast has been resoundingly disproved, it reported earlier this week that on Friday and Saturday would be rain and temperatures dropped on Sunday at maximum of 23 degrees Celsius, all runners found that unfortunately this has not happened.

At 8:30 am we start: I do not get the impression that we are 650 runners, as stated by the organizers. But it may be my impression only. I spend a good first kilometers, the temperature begins to rise, the sun is high in the sky and even the forced passage (because of an open-air market in the city) outside the shaded center of the town of Calcinaia as it was in other editions, is not easier. In fact on the highway outside we got a completely straight line in the sun. It is beautiful as always the switching from Vicopisano, thanks to the tree-lined avenue that, with its shadow, allows the runners to lower body temperature. My legs run in standard and even I manage the street Tosco Romagnola without major problems. I reach Cascina shortly after Morelli and Toschi and I decided to stay with them until the mark of km 22, then I decide to put the sponge in the cap, which until then had remained attached to the pouch, in fact I feel a principle of sunstroke. Around the 23 km mark Klasu and Pergula reach me and will stay a few miles. We took the opportunity also to make a phone call to our friend Valerio. I then arrive at the Calci climb, which is very feared by runners, I got overtaken by the 4h45min pacers Juliana and Santa Magù. They try to urge me to speed up, but my legs are not able to react and are not running too fast. I can still hear the sound of ambulances, maybe someone fell ill.

During the marathon I often meet runners lay down in the street because of cramps, many are also taxis that go on board with athletes that have withdrawn. At Gabella Calci I am overtaken by Coccioli and shortly after by the 5h pacer, we are at the 30 km mark. At the refreshment I take a bottle of water that creates stomach problems and nausea unspeakable, I just wet my lips not to increase the nausea better not drink it. Giusy called me, told her that maybe I could retire, perhaps even worse than last year, thank goodness I put on his glasses too, because it starts having hallucinations like a desert, meanwhile, the temperature reached 33° C.

I take 5 € from the pouch, in hopes of finding a bar: at km 32 I found an ice cream shop. I went in, and ask for a Coca Cola and a bottle of sparkling water, broken and from this moment onwards there was a change after having drunk a lot Coca slowly, it opens my stomach and the nausea begins to fall, I make out even the water and begins to trust again, are at the 35-mile shaded part begins now understand that this marathon will bring it to term. Few runners who pass me or overtaking, my walk is more decisive and quick, before the center of Pisa and then finally along the river, I call on Cech to ask how much I miss the arrival of the epilogue are now the marathon that I will always remember as one of the hallucinations and mirages, think I could drink vending machines (Coca Cola and sparkling water) to every gas station.

I am actually at the end of the competition, I enter the Square of Miracles, I see Giusy that greets me, I stop to photograph the Tower and I will stop two more times to photograph the arrival, I am taking it calmly, joke and laugh with joy, pass the finish line, I managed to do worse than last year when I had already done much harm, but now the important thing was to finish within 6 hours max time, because these temperatures is not easy to run a marathon. To hand the medal is Paola we hug and makes me compliments. I am in seventh heaven; Giusy reaches me and provide another Coke. I am finally wearing the jersey of the centenary with the medal around my neck, now we are world champions together and I am really happy (I am a champion of endurance).

The time it took me to complete the Pisa Marathon should be around 5 hours and 35 minutes, but since I forget to stop the chrono, I shall be more precise in the next post. We then go to the car and go home. Dear Sandra this time we did it and your tank top also left the sign from all points of view, to the curiosity it has aroused among the spectators and runners which asked the significance of the logo. Moreover, just as I take off to shower, I find that the sun has tattooed the shape of the tank top on the body.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Milan City Marathon: the tenth or the first edition?

March 30th 2010. Already more than 5000 runners have enrolled to the Milan Fashion Marathon, which will take place on April 11th 2010. This is its tenth edition, but everything is different from the other nine.
The date has changed, the course has been completely modified, logo and site as well have been completely redesigned. The new honorary president is Linus, the entertainer and deejay marathon runner, which brought enthusiasm but also has given significant broadcasting and advertising with his radio. 

First, instead of a winter marathon which was reserved to  few thousand fans, and which had limited global expansion, the organizers had in mind an event that in April can attract runners and tourists as it happens in London, Berlin, New York, Barcelona and many other cities around the world.The new marathon, beyond all expectations, has already exceeded the five thousand members with athletes coming from over 44 countries. Other marathons in Italy like Rome and Florence have been recently over 15 and 12 thousand runners, respectively, but with this move the organizers expect to create an event that could in a few years become a flagship for Milan in view of the 2015 Expo.
Second, also the course has been modified. The runners will not start from Milan downtown, but from the outskirts of the town, in the halls of Fiera Rho-Pero and it will finish at the Castello Sforzesco through, among other streets, San Siro district, Corso Sempione, Cathedral Square, the Civic Arena, Corso Venezia and Piazza San Babila and also along the canals. Third, the Milano City Marathon has a new medal for the runners crossing the finish line. The design has been selected in an official competition among different Italian arts students, coming from Monza's Liceo Artistico Villa Reale, Milan's Liceo Artistico Boccioni and Milan's Professional institute Caterina da Siena. Moreover, the logo has been redesigned and the color has changed: from blue to green, to indicate that the marathon course is ecological, and that the organizers will offset the CO2 emission produced during the marathon with trees plantation (in 2008, across a 90,000 sqm area between Milan and Pavia, 18,000 trees have been installed). Finally, the sponsor has also changed, from Asics to Mizuno.

In the marketing campaign on the web and on the press, the new edition of the marathon has been advertised as the fastest marathon in the world. This has been indicated as one of the five reason to come to Milan. If true, in the long run, this will bring additional runners, in search for their personal best. The Milan organizers have indicated other four good reasons: first, the ability to combine sport and tourist (pretty much true for other marathons in big cities); second, the opportunity to shop in the world's most fashionable city (pretty unique, indeed!); third, the option to run only half marathon or the relay; finally, the low cost opportunities/deals that can be found in Milan, ranging from low cost flights to hotels.

Therefore, compared to previous editions, the Milanocity marathon is really quite different than the past, except for one thing. Contrary to what has been indicated to the site, there will not be a complete traffic block during the day of the race.  

Will the runners love the event for the next nine editions of the marathon, as they did not in the previous nine? Only time will tell this, but it is most likely that the Milan Fashion Marathon will become an unforgettable event just in few years from now, with more than 10 thousand runners.


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