'Bellissimo!': A Sunny Celebration at Italy Run

A man finishing the Italy Run, wearing a singlet that says "Italia"

As the sun broke through the clouds early on Sunday morning, more than 8,000 runners took to Central Park to celebrate Festa della Repubblica at New York Road Runners' second Italy Run by Nutella Cafe 5M. The beautiful day led to stellar performances on course and a fun-filled festival, packed with Italian treats, awaited runners at the finish. 

A celebration of all-things Italy, the post-race festival kicked off with a special Nutella giveaway, courtesy of Nutella Cafe. After racing five miles through Central Park, runners lined up to get a taste of one of Italy’s most popular inventions, and maybe a snag a few cups for later.

An Italy Run finisher with Nutella

“I loved seeing all the people having a good time. And the good food!” - Nicole, New York City 

Also on hand was the Italian Consulate, promoting their Italian-American language program, which encourages New Yorkers to learn about the contributions Italian Americans have made to the city throughout the years, and to learn the Italian language.

“I’m from France, so I am always interested in running a race that celebrates European culture,” said Clemence, one of the day’s runners.

For another finisher, Kelly, this race was special for her: “I love Italy! I have traveled there and I’m a huge fan. It’s one of my favorite countries. When people ask me about my favorite place to travel to, I always say 'Italy.' Why? Because the food is amazing. One example: Nutella. The race was sponsored by Nutella Cafe, so when I saw that online I was signing up.”

A prize wheel at Italy Run

Offering more than just chocolate, the festival featured gear giveaways from Italian airline Alitalia, an instant photo booth also by Nutella Cafe, and olive oil samples courtesy of Colavita.

Also out to celebrate the spirit of Italy was our Rising New York Road Runners, who raced their way past waving Italian flags to their parents, who had Nutella waiting for them, many of whom had just run the adult race themselves.

A Rising New York Road Runner with Nutella
“This was my first time back in Central Park for a run in a long time. My six-year-old daughter is running the kids race. It is a beautiful day. I loved how there were water sprays [in the air] throughout the race. I just feel refreshed now,” said Christine who, after she had finished her own race, was waiting to watch her daughter run.

For many runners, it was a chance to take the next step in their 9+1 program to earn a guaranteed spot in the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon. Ramone from Spain has his eyes set on getting into the marathon, and we can expect to see him compete in many more races throughout the year. “I ran this race as part of my 9+1 and as a way to keep training.”

Donna brought her entire family along, and they are all working toward earning their guaranteed entry status. “We mainly ran for the 9+1, but we also do a lot with New York Road Runners. There’s five of us in the family and we all ran.”

Gif of runners dancing

There was music, good food, and plenty to celebrate as race day came to a close, with runners heading home with goodies and Italy on the mind. Looking to run with us soon? On Wednesday, June 5, celebrate Global Running Day by participating in the NYRR Virtual Global Running Day 1M


Katie Manzi

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