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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