Italy Run by Ferrero: A Big One Italian Soul in Central Park
11,000 people from Italy and United States arrived yesterday in Central Park to celebrate the Republic Day and their love of Italy. Between 67th and 72nd St., participants ran five-miles in honor of the formation of the Republic of Italy. Short-track speed-skating Olympic Champion Arianna Fontana was met with applause Sunday as she arrived as the Godmother of honor for the event. Excitement, enthusiasm and patriotic pride were definitely palpable in the air since the first light in the morning.
“I think there is no better way to celebrate Italy in New York," stated the Consul General of Italy Francesco Genuardi just before the start of the competion. He alternated on stage with Peter Ciaccia and Michael Capiraso, President and CEO of the New York Road Runners, to remind runners the goal of the event: to feel like a one big Italian soul.
“The project was born from a great vision and intuition a few years ago when, analyzing the panorama of the races usually organized in Central Park, I noticed that many countries around the world had their own running event, except our ‘bella Italia,’” said Aldo Uva, Ferrero Chief Open Innovation Officer. In previous years, the Consul General of Italy in New York Francesco Genuardi, met several Italian companies and asked for their help to give birth to the first Italian race in the green lung of the Big Apple. Ferrero immediately accepted the leadership of this initiative, as a spokesperson for a healthy lifestyle, able to balance a correct diet with physical activity. Because of this, the company embarked on an adventure thanks to the collaboration of partners such as Lavazza, Intesa San Paolo, Fiat and TechnoGym, and the support of the New York Road Runners, which saw a passionate participation by CEO Michael Capiraso and the Chairman George Hirsch; both in love with Italy.
Against all odds, the winners in both men’s and women’s categories were not Italian: John Campagna finished in 26:47, and Sasha Whittle posted a time of 29:45. After the award ceremony, the Ambassador of Italy in the US Armando Varricchio took the floor thanking everyone for the warm reception. “What a day here in Central Park! What an incredible way to celebrate our National day! As we all know, New York City speaks Italian, is Italian and since today runs in Italian. A great team contributed to this great success: first of all, you the runners!” said Varricchio. Together with the hard work of the main sponsors, his deep appreciation was expressed towards the City of New York and the NYPD for their fundamental cooperation and support. Moreover, he said said to be very grateful to their charity partner, the Italian American Cancer Foundation. “As representing Italy in the United States, I was pleased to be back here in New York. All our institutions have been working together under the help of the Consulate General and I want to thank Francesco Genuardi and the colleagues who have run this morning achieving a great result, the Deputy Consuls Isabella and Chiara . . . The purpose of this initiative is to promote what we stand for: love for the city, love for sport, lifestyle and all those things that make life so important and so Italian. Thank you for your participation and get ready because next year we’ll be celebrating here again the second edition of the Italy Run!”
At the end of the ceremony, Varricchio, Uva and Capiraso were honored by the representative of CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee), U.S. Mico Licanstro, who expressed his thankfulness for the effort undertaken by the Italian Embassy, Ferrero and the NYRR.