Blog

Firenze Multistars 2017

On April 28 and 29 of this year I had the pleasure of being asked to return to the 30th edition of the Firenze Multistars (Zerneri Acciai Trophy) event that takes place annually at the Firenze Atletica stadium, just outside Florence´s city center. I was really thankful to the entire Multistars team because I had participated as a translator at the event the previous year and I had a way better time than I could have possibly imagined. While I´ve been having the time of my life traveling and running outdoors whenever I can squeeze in the time, years had passed since I´d been on the track. Not to mention I was witnessing world class athletes train, perform and compete right in front of me. Track and field is always my favorite summer Olympic sport to watch, so to be at the live show was an amazing experience.

This year when asked if I would be available I said yes without even checking my calendar! I had just started a new job and wasn´t sure how stressed or tired I would be, but I know I wanted to hang out at the track that weekend. The best part about being around the athletes is that nobody cares if you, too, show up post-workout to try and observe and copy some of their warm up/cool down routines.

The story of the Firenze Multistars is lovely. Its founder, Gianni Lombardi dreamed of organizing an international athletic meeting. He, together with his wife and daughter, Barbara (now the main organizer of the event) decided to go for it despite limited resources. Through the help of friends, they were able to put together an event that today is known as the meeting dell’amicizia — the friendship meet.

The first time I translated at the meet, I was working with a judge from the International Association of Athletics Federations,  the international governing body for athletics. The organization sends an international judge to the Multistars event every year for anti-doping procedures, and I got to be in on the action. I learned about how the heptathlon and decathlon competitors are corralled after their events and closely monitored throughout the entire meet, and then randomly selected for drug testing. I worked with the Italian medics and the IAAF judge to be sure that everyone understood each other. Confusion, adrenaline and nerves were all high and athletes´ integrity is on the line, so it was a really emotionally charged experience.

Me with Firenze Marathon President Giancarlo Romiti

The best parts of the Multistars event however were the excellent sportsmanship and passion exhibited by all involved — athletes, trainers, families, spectators, and tons of volunteers, many of whom I got to know pretty well just chatting and watching the competitions. Everyone was completely involved in helping the athletes do their best and achieve the most points possible. Barbara was amazing at making sure athletes were given the best opportunities. I loved watching her and her dad try to gauge where the wind came from to time the high jumps, or where to place the sand pit for long jumps. The team ran around everywhere to make sure everything was in the right place at the right time! To experience the technical expertise and effort that goes into an athletic event really made me appreciate the coaches I had at Marshall High School a long time ago!

The whole weekend culminated in the Firenze Multistars party, a super fun event where all involved congratulated the athletes and prizes were given out for winners, personal best times, and of course Miss and Mister Multistar! This was also where I got to embarrass myself as the ¨official¨ presenter. I was able to ham it up for awhile until a kind soul finally relieved me of my duties so I could go join the party too.

Congratulations to all who participated in the 30th anniversary of the Firenze Multistars, and thank you sincerely for giving me a chance to participate. I hope to see you all back in Florence next year!

Me and the beautiful Barbara with the 2017 MISTERS
Advertisements

Running Around Florence, Part 1

Running Around Florence, Part 1

I wouldn´t call myself the epitome of health or fitness by any means (I live in Italy and subsist mostly on cheese, bread, wine and chocolate) but one of the more healthy habits I adopted at a young age and am so thankful to be able to continue is running. I´m thankful to continue because when I lace up my shoes and get outside, no matter how much I don´t feel like it, I thank God that I have two working legs that allow me to practice my sport of preference, no matter where in the world I am.

One of the projects I´ve been working on since 2014 is the Firenze Marathon. My relationship with the Firenze Marathon team and organization is something I´m very proud of and happy to have been able to continue consistently. I got started with the Marathon in 2014 when Diego Petrini, the event´s Project Manager, approached Stanford University (where I was working at the time) looking for student volunteers to assist at the event: the marathon and other associated events run with the help of thousands of volunteers, something that is not lost on the organizing committee.

Knowing that American students tend to spend most of their free time traveling I had to tell Diego that I doubted he´d get any volunteers for weekend running events, but that I would be happy to help in any capacity I could. A runner for years, I dreamed (still do) of one day completing a marathon, so what better way than to hang around with the organizers and athletes, and learn as much as I could from them?

I even got so comfortable with the marathon idea that two years ago I decided to begin training for my own. Through the Marathon organization I was set up with Training Consultant Fulvio Massini who gave me a full plan to train for the marathon in one year. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I had a fall after about three months of training – you need to be careful on the Florentine cobblestones — and got completely discouraged from completing the race. I´ll be sure to write if I decide to pursue that dream.

My busted knee.

A lot has changed since my initial meeting with the Firenze Marathon organization. I´ve had different jobs, changed apartments, and traveled a lot. The marathon itself has changed, with new race routes and increased visibility in Florence and the world over, I hope, in part, to my small contribution as a translator during the off season and a volunteer at races when possible during the running season. The Firenze Marathon has remained one of the consistent projects I have come to look forward to, and most definitely one of the reasons I´ve stayed sane during my expatriate experience in Florence. Running literally has kept me sane.

The Firenze Marathon typically takes place over Thanksgiving weekend, a time when Turkey Trots are going on all over the United States. Have you ever dreamed of running the Marathon? Do you want to come to Florence and experience this beautiful race for yourself? Let me know and I can put you in touch with race organization, and help you with planning your visit to Florence! I´ll also continue to update this site with new sports events in Florence and Tuscany, and hopefully elsewhere as I continue my travels. Stay in touch and let me know how you stay fit when you´re on the road! I always need new workouts!

This is just part 1 because, if you know me, I´m frequently literally running around Florence.

Next time I say I want bangs, please remind me I do not.