|World Athletics Label Road Race:||Yes|
|Distances:||21K (half marathon), 2x10.5K (relay)|
|Type of race:||Flat, city run|
|Time limit:||3 hour|
Is it strange, that I ran my first half marathon in Italy only at the 14th attempt? After all, there are so many high quality events in places definitely worth to visit, combining a perfect touristic, gastronomic and running experience in my home country. It could have been happening before.
It took a while simply because… there are so many other places to visit! Besides that, many great events in Italy take place in “colder” months. My motivation usually …lies under the blankets and getting in shape in the danish winter is not so easy (for me!).
But I wanted to fight the winter laziness and I picked this event. There is also a sentimental reason behind it: the race was not only starting and arriving in the area of my university, but the event was also on the same day of my graduation, several (don’t ask how many!) years before. It was a jump in my past of university student.
Before the course
Everything went smooth in the BIB number pick-up: tolerable waiting time. Probably 20 minutes in and out, I went the morning of the day before the event. I decided to spend the day before the race walking in the city I have been living for seven years in. I met another fellow runner on the way, George.
One of the reasons why I like travelling and running is the experiences and stories you learn and how open are people in this community. I asked George if he wanted to join me, and he was happy to do so. He was preparing the Boston marathon, having Napoli and Warsaw half marathons as training steps.
He is coming from Germany, but he is originally from Hong Kong. We had lunch in one of the typical restaurants in the Riviera di Chiaia area, few hundred meters from the famous Toledo street. One thing is sure: in Napoli, the hometown of pizza, it is virtually impossible having troubles finding sources of carbs.
The day of the event was extremely windy and cold (below 10 °C): too much for a person who hates it! But once warm, it’s only the wind creating some troubles: I was afraid to lose my BIB number at any moment! Fortunately this is not the usual weather: you will most probably find better conditions.
The path is mostly flat and very enjoyable, and the beauty is that it touches most of the touristic landmarks of the city: Mergellina seaside, the Angioino castle, Plebiscito square, Dell’ovo castle. The race is fast and, in 2022 (3 years after the edition I participated) the italian runner Yeman Crippa won the race with a fantastic 59’26” (italian and course record).
Arriving in the area of my university and where I spent an important part of my life was priceless. Unfortunately, the participation alongside the race is not warm as other competitions. Music, bands, or simply cheering people are not involving as in other events. As a result, you spend in silence most of the race.
But the only real downside of the edition (2019) was the bottleneck created at the bags pick-up after race at the Mostra d’Oltremare, the exposition area where the competition starts and ends.
The storage area was not very well organized, requiring long time to get the bags to the rightful owners. This created an accumulation of people in distress after a running effort, in a confined space. This was a stain in an almost perfect organization otherwise. I am confident the organizers will learn and design the right corrections in time for the 2020 edition. This is the first edition with the race classified Bronze IAAF label event.
My time was very bad as per all post winter experiences. I can’t stress enough how a good training is important for a good performance and a healthy and safe experience. But at least the calories burnt were reintegrated with an amazing selection of pizza!
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Please find here also some ideas about things to do in Napoli while you are there 😉