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?

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