On the other hand it was a fabulous, warm, sunny day and I got to run a fun race (past a bonafide castle and medieval city wall) in a city dating from the 1200s (this is so very strange for a Canadian!) and hang out with baby and hubby afterwards so really no true complaints. It also gave me the opportunity to further my study of the differences between Italian & Canadian road racing.
First, let me say there is NO bureaucracy like Italian bureaucracy. I could go on ad infinitum (and probably will eventually in another post) about the hoops I jumped through to get signed up with FIDAL (the Italian Athletics Federation). I'm talking flaming, spinning hoops many meters above the ground the likes of which most circus lions have never seen. But my point is that many races here require that one is a member of FIDAL (which entails much of the previously alluded to bureaucracy) and, in my naive opinion, this results in a racing community which tends to not include the recreational jogger. Go to any large city Canadian half marathon and the peak flow of runners crossing the finish line will occur somewhere between 1h50 and 2h00. Granted this was a small(ish) half marathon (650 runners) but I was shocked to glance over at the race clock at 1h55 minutes and NOT see masses of runners crossing the line, in fact there was just the tiniest of trickles. The quintessential lady/man with baby jogger was nowhere to be seen, no dude running backwards (yes, there is almost always one in Cdn races), absent was the person trying to break the world half marathon while juggling record (it's called joggling... yes, I'm serious), I didn't see the 85 year old woman finishing phalanxed by her children and grandchildren, nor the walk/runner who had just had a quadruple bypass last month and, to be frank, I just didn't see the masses of people who are just slow but really, really love running. I have to say the whole scene felt incomplete without these members of the cast. I guess it is not worth it to these people to hurdle the obstacles involved to be able to race here (hoops, hurdles, whatever). To be fair there are also "non-competitivo" races here and these require little if any bureaucracy but somehow it's not the same as having everyone, the whole cast and crew on the same start line.
On the other hand the prizes here are amazing and best of all, useful! Medals are great. They're fun. They made me really love running, when I was 10 years old. Now that I am 35, not so much. It seems here, in my limited experience, that standard practice is to give away groceries. Yes, food! How awesome is that? I am not talking some token items of dried fruit or granola bars. I'm talking sugar and flour and juice (almost 3 L baby!) and fresh garlic and garlic paste and pasta and some kind of gelatinized meat I have never seen before and am slightly frightened by. Useful, consumable prizes. Very nice indeed. And, 300 euro for running a1:23:50, not a bad day's work!