Sunday, March 27, 2011

"She is just not running fast enough!"

The Stramilano is an annual athletics event which takes place in Milan, Italy in spring. "Yahoo, it is Spring!" The event accomodates for 3 types of people; the insanely fit, the wish I was fit and the child too young to realise what they are doing. The 3 events include; Stramilano International Half Marathon (a professional road running competition over 21.0975 km), Stramilano of the 50,000 (a 10 km non-competitive run/walk open to the general public) and the Stramilanina (a 5 km event for younger people).  Even though it was a Sunday and the world had robbed me of an hours sleep by reintroducing daylight saving, I decided we should all get out of our pyjamas and make the trek downstairs to watch others run past our apartment in this annual event.  We shall participate in the sport of cheering.

Leading male runner

Wheeled event
Leading female runner

The first Stramilano took place on 14 March 1972, as a nocturnal walk which ran along the entire outer ring road (about 22 km) and saw over 4,000 participants. Since then participation has risen steadily until it settled at an average of 50,000 participants: for this reason the non-competitive race is called "Stramilano of the 50,000".  There were so many runners to cheer on that my hands were sore from clapping, the runners just kept on coming, and with it came my guilt of my prior gym free week.  So after an hour of community spirit service, we cheered from our apartment with a full belly after lunch and wine, (probably not very appropriate).

Son cheering and trying to join the race

While we were downstairs, it was however an opportunity for the kids and I to use some Italian; we cheered "Bravo" for the men, "Brava" for the ladies, and "Bravi" for grouped runners.  Even our 18month old clapped and yelled "Bravo" as he tried to join the race on several occassions, his curious mind probably wondering where everyone was going, 'so many people heading that way, so it must be pretty good'.  Our daughter also cheered, although she did not hold back volume with the numerous comments that so easily flow off a 3 year olds tongue. "Hurry up" yelled at men in the leading pack, "She is just not running fast enough" to a tired lady that had adapted the 'nanna-shuffle' running style, oh, and my favourite, "There is a lady, brava!" to the man with the pony tail!  This is one of the few times I am hopeful that the english language is NOT understood, (but admittedly, I do giggle at her innocence).

Only in Italy would it be appropriate for someone to offer a cigarette to those running past while taking a swig of his beer.  It did however not overly offend as he was present for the start of the race as we were, and had clapped and cheered for the entire hour we had been there.  It was such a lovely atmosphere, with all walks of life surfacing to encourage those running.  Our children lost interest, but were happy to ride their scooters in the background and pick some really pretty weeds out of the local garden.  As we cheered for the runners, most waved, clapped there hands in the air, thanked us, and cheered on others also.  A great community spirit.

So with vision of matching sweat bands and colour co-odinated streamers off the pram, I asked our daughter if we could all go in the race next year, (perhaps just the 10km).  She seemed very excited and instructed me to make shirts for the whole family to wear straight away, (good to see she was also obviously considering the colour co-ordination).  I tried to explain it was a year away, children do not exactly have the best concept of time, so the easiest solution was "It will be after Christmas and your Birthday", the 2 most important things to a 3 year old.  So now my goal over the next year, is not only to train to run 10km pushing a pram, (which will prove awkward on the treadmill at the gym), but also to tame my child's competitive nature so she does not turn hulk on all those fellow participants that finish before her! I was given the silent treatment last night because I beat her in a race to the toilet!  No idea where she gets these personality traits from?
Picking some pretty weeds

Offering support by offering cigarettes and beer

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