Well, looks still like incredible to me, but i DID it ... on
November 3rd, 2002 I run my first Marathon,
a dream began in 1990 came true!
Lots of water has flown under the bridges from that year, and after so many years I finally found some time to write these pagese, sort my photo/video stuff, and write my Marathon diary, expecially because I've been asked to do so by the organizers of "Peace Marathon" Medjugorje.
Well, you know, this story is really LONG, VERY LONG, since it goes along with another chapter of my life ... I still would recommend you to read it all, but if you are in a hurry you can skip most of it and jump straight to the Marathon Story :)
Come già anticipato, questa storia è abbastanza lunga, e legata non solo a MEDJUGORJE ma sostanzialmente a buona parte della mia vita ... ma se tu che leggi sei un runner, o qualcuno che è legato in qualche modo a Maria e a Medjugorje, potrebbe senz'altro valerne la pena ...
Il sottoscritto può affermare di aver "corso" praticamente da sempre, sicuramente le mie prime vere e proprie "corsette amatoriali" risalgono ai miei 11 anni, quindi una passione che ho avuto fin da piccolo ... ma che non ho mai avuto modo di elevare al ruolo di sport serio, cioè praticato in modo agonistico, fino all'età di 37 anni, il tutto per un certo numero di problemi ortopedici, principalmente con la gamba ed anca destra.The first thing to say is ... why this page?
Well, it all started with this message on November 14th 2007, or better on May 17th of the same year ... when a friend of mine called me from Medjugorje telling me "hey, they are running a Marathon here!!"
Me: How Come? A marathon? You are wrong for sure ... they may be doing a short
around Medjugorje ...
Him: No no ... a Marathon! Believe Me
Me: Let me check ....
Just some quick Goooogling and browsing, and I got evidence it was true: the first "Peace Marathon" was going on, and I didn't know about it ... TOO BAD I had no news just one days before and I would have been traveling overnight to get to Grude at 9am at the start line! I was so SORRY not to have heard about it before!
You may now wonder what could have been the reason for such an excitement, or the important of such an event that could push me to "overnight traveling" ... at the end, is just a very little marathon run by approx 100 people far away in Bosnia-Herzegovina ...
Well, this is a quite long story, the reason is NOT ONLY Medjugorje-Related, but it has roots in a wide part of my life ... if you got interested, get ready for a "few lines" of text ... but if you are a runner, or loving Medjugorje in any way, it may be worth.
Basically, I've started running at the age of 11, and I can say that I always liked it ... for several reasons I was never able to do it in the proper way because of several orthopedic problems, basically with my feet, a tendon, and my hips. I clearly remember when I was 17 and I tried to start training seriously in the track & field with a trainer: within 3/4 weeks I developed a strong pain in my right leg, which didn't leave me for the next 12 years. No way ... I could not run professionally ... and not even as an amateur, because that pain was not going away.
No matter how many doctors I consulted, wasting money ... I could not recover from this pain. I was first cured with ultra sounds like having an inflammation at my muscles, and the doctors said that laser was not good for me ... then I was cured with laser, by a doctor saying that ultra-sounds was not good for me at the age I did it ... and that laser should have been used and so on through magnetic therapy, and a number of other techniques: no way, the pain was still there.
It was right in those years that from somewhere came in my mind this idea: "I don't know how, but one day or one other, I will run the New York Marathon .. I don't know when, say it will be the year 2000 Marathon, but I will run it" ... I really can't remember when and how this idea came from, maybe from some TV report or newspaper article, but for sure it was during those years of suffering.
To cut it short, from 1990 on ... year by year I tried to recover somehow from that pain, but I did not manage to. Yes, I always tried to run few amateur races in my town, but with no special emphasis, and being not able to train for more than two/three weeks without developing unbearable right leg pain, I could not afford running races longer thank 6km ... and there is NO way to train for a Marathon in less than 6 months with training sessions up to 36km ... especially for a beginner.
So finally Year 2000 came, and not only I didn't run the Year 2k Marathon, but right in that year a doctor warmly suggested me to avoid in the future any sport with jumping activity (running is just a series of continue little jumps), and prophesized me I was going to have major problems in the future even for walking. He also prescribed me some magnetic therapy treatments, obviously for money, obviously through his medical business ... which had NO effect at all.
So what I did? Simply and sincerely ... I turned up to God to ask for a solution. Year 2000 was a particular time of my life, and I had a number of "inputs" from above that I should care some more of the things of God ... it was also a special Jubilee Year, so there was the right mix of things to help me go that way. No, I did not get any direct talk with God, but by a number or little events or "signs" I got evidence that the solution for my problems was to be searched in "Prayer and Fasting".
It was December 2000 when I decided to take very seriously that year's Advent time, the period of preparation for Christmas: I decided with serious determination to do some fasting, and so my weekly schedule was like this ... Full Sunday meal, then for every day of the week just the breakfast with the classical Italian "cornetto+cappuccino" and water for the rest of the day (plus small snacks for the moments of real hunger). This may seem very few, but I was not doing any sport activity, I was working all of the day in front of a PC and thus was not needing so many calories, and even if it doesn't like so, it was not so big sacrifice for me ...
When Did I break my fasting? Well, 3 hours before the "target" time ... 3 Hours before the Midnight Christmas Mass: I went with my Parents by some close relatives ... and there was no way I could avoid eating that dinner. And not only did I eat, I ate so much that I clearly remember my interior disagreement while going to and then attending the Christmas Midnight Mass, being not able to live it at all, for my completely overfilled stomach (which confirms, indeed, what is written in the bible).
And not only I ate that night, but my relatives fed me like a pig for the next few days: Christmas Lunch + Dinner, St. Stephan Lunch + Dinner, St. John Lunch + Dinner ... after which I went checking the scale, and with extreme HORROR I discovered that within 3 days I re-gained all of the weight I had lost in 1 month of continued sacrifice.
I was so in ANGER, that I told myself "no matter how much pain in my leg, tonight I will go running".
So at 11:00 PM, of December 27th 2000 I covered myself with 4 layers of clothing, and went running: of that running session I clearly remember the point of the street where I looked to my leg and said to myself : but ... where is the pain? At that time, I was not so aware of Marian stuff ... but the place was near a crossroad with a nice statue of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
So ... WHERE IS MY PAIN? SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME! It was gone! at least at that time ....
So what I did as the FIRST thing after this beautiful surprise? I tried to run the next day ... no pain ... another day ... no pain ... so I tried to run a few days increasing the training time little by little, day by day ... NO PAIN! I was keeping praying and fasting, but only on Fridays, and not being able to be so strict ... in that year, my fasting for the Lent time was ridiculous comparing to what I did for the advent, and since today this has been a general rule for me ... living a proper Lent is way more difficult than living the Advent ... you get much more temptation, which is reasonable ... so you need more prayer to cope with the difficulties ....
But still I was having no more pain ... so why and how could this happen? Well ... there are a number of possible causes ... what is sure is that proper fasting really helps EVEN the body, and nowadays this has been scientifically proved in a number of ways ... I also lost some weight, which helps ... and ... I don't want to put any supernatural items here, but for sure without prayer I could never have been able to manage such a strict fasting for the advent, and maybe this was the key event that helped the pain go away after so many years.
So I kept running also for the next following months, and by December 2001 I run my first 10k race in my life, in a time of about 45 minutes .... and somehow I said inside myself: "maybe, maybe, maybe next year I CAN do it".
I want to make it clear that by that time I did know nothing about Medjugorje, Our Lady the Virgin Mary, the Holy Rosary, or whatsoever. My faith had a certain spring season in year 2000, like I said above, when I started going to an adoration chapel every day, and attending Mass daily as well ... adding later the liturgy of the hours ... but my faith was still really canonical and Mary herself was for me just the subject of the Hail Mary and nothing more ....
In that very December, I was noticing those old ladies in that adoration church, saying the rosary every day before the mass ... in a way that I then used to describe as "machine-gunned-Rosary", obviously joking comparing to the "meditated Rosary" ... and saying to God within myself something that sounded "oh Lord, sorry for my unfaithful attitude, but I will praise you in any way BUT this".
Actually, there was something that made me curious in those old ladies: I was wondering what could drive them to do that "mechanical" prayer, completely without heart, in a completely cold manner, but systematically EVERY DAY, no matter weather or any obstacle, they where there EVERY day before the mass and they was doing it since a lot of years .... but I kept this question in my heart, and went on.
Again in that very December, I was invited to go to Medjugorje by a friend, a girl I didn't know that much, and to go across the New Years's eve. Well, on those days, I had to perform as a DJ, I had a number of other interesting things to do, and I was practically with no money (of my own) ... and so I said "I have to go".
At that time, I heard about Medjugorje back in 1997, during a terrible period of my life. I just subscribed to a mailing list for receiving Mary's monthly messages from Medjugorje, but nothing more was going on, they was not changing my life in any way ... I was just remaining curious about them, and I was feeling I had sooner or later I had to go there ... one day I was talking with some friends about Lourdes, Fatima .... and I said ... maybe one day I will go there, but I know I have to go to Medjugorje before.
So finally for 2001 New year's eve I got there, and this would open a story that requires pages and pages to witness, but "to cut it short" I came back a little bit "stuffed" from that trip: the guide brought us from here to there, to there, to visionaries, to Krizevac, to Podbrdo, etc etc ... quite like an heavy duty tourist tour ... and on the way back there was already someone pushing me to "share my testimony" because "I had to have one" because "everyone that goes to Medjugorje receives signs, special experiences etc ..." and so on ... and I told them: "well guys, thank you so much for this experience, but I'm not for such a thing ... I'm a meditative one, I don't pray the rosary, so I will come to your prayer group once just as a sign of thanksgiving, and that's it.
Well, after 4 months, I was the prayer group leader of that "young prayer group" ... and I was not only praying the rosary, but spreading the good news all around my town. As said above, very long story worth to be witnessed in detail in a different message ...
But one thing that is the KEY point of this testimony, was the following: Since the days I've known Medjugorje, I started trying to live the messages, and like it happened to a lot of people, it was so natural to start praying it in ANY situation of life ...
And so, I tried to do do it even while training ... and it was fantastic! Not only it was really easy to do, but praying showed to be a big help during running ... or better, praying was helping training, and training was sometimes helping training ... like I'll try to expand later ..
But basically, since those days, I started praying the Rosary in ANY of my training and up to date in 2008, I NEVER had a single training without praying the at least a part of it, and it will probably be so, god willing, for the rest of my life, at least as long as THE GIFT of running remains with me!!!
It was, and it is like having the Gospa as a personal trainer! And praying while running was (and still is) showing several "side" effects ...
Consider this: in the February of that year .... soon after I started praying my "Running Rosaries" I visited the New York Marathon site, and I saw that they was opening the "lottery" for the 2002 Marathon. Yes, a lottery, because there was like 70.000 applications for the 30.000 available running places, and the only way to get a BIB number for sure, was to buy a tourist package for no less of 2000 euros, and I just could not afford it! There was another way actually: running the marathon below 2h 40mins ... and my projections said "more than 3h 30mins" ... no way as well!
So I said ... let's try .. why not? and for 7 US Dollars I entered the lottery. This implied to wait until some day in June, when they usually close the lottery, and choose who is in and who is out. Well ... in the meantime, let's train, and pray, and wait ....
What happened after one month? I received a letter from the New York Road Runners Club, stating that my credit card data was bad, and that I had to resend it. It was true, I just wrote badly a digit of my Credit Card data (they needed it to charge the 7 USD and the 90s for the race in case of success in the lottery). So I simply filled their form, and snail mailed it.
After few days, for no special reason, I simply felt going to the marathon website, to check my application ... and what I found out?
ACCEPTED | PIAGENTINI | MARCO | M32 | TERNI | TR | ITALY
How come? ACCEPTED? ...A? ACCEPTED! See here ...
Few days ago the STATUS was LOTTERY, now it was ACCEPTED !!! The file in which I recorded the event, was called "accepted!!!!" and was dated April 4th, 2002, more or less one month BEFORE the lottery date.
I also made a number of queries in the database, to check that at that time I was the only one being ACCEPTED without a projected time below the 2h40mins required for a before-the-lottery approval.
Whatever happened, I don't know .... I made several hypothesis ... from a simple mistake, to some procedural problems ... like the had to take note somewhere that the credit card data was now good, and so they did by closing the case and ACCEPTING me.
Anyway, whatever was the reason I was ACCEPTED, That, for me, was a clear Sign, the Sign I expected. And Like anything happening in Medjugorje, I really believe it was not a chance.
And so ... so I had to start training seriously :-) .... which I did, at least more regularly and seriously than before, as if I look back now to what I used to do in that year with the experience I have now, I can say I was training really bad. Anyway, during these last 7 months there has not been a single training session during which I did not pray at least a part of the Holy Rosary ... at a certain point it became so natural, that I was experiencing something similar to what you can find in the "Tales of a Russian pilgrim" book about the Prayer of Jesus (I'm sure most of you have read this book before).
Even in the days I really had no power to train, or absolutely no will of doing it, just recalling that I did not pray the rosary during the day, gave me the power to wear properly, go out running at 2am for PrayingTheRosary/Training, get back home, a quick shower, a short sleep, and up at 7 am alive and kicking for another day of work.
Fasting was going on as well, not as strict as in that famous fasting advent of the previous year, but regularly on Friday ... and with fasting and proper food control I was loosing weight, and this helped a lot ... now I could run without significative problems for more than 10Km, and by May I was able to complete my first half marathon: at the end of the race I was "finished" and painful, with a time around the two hours even if on a very very difficult path: "Maratona delle acque", a beautiful amateur race that brings you through the highest Waterfall in Europe, 169 meters tall, all of them to climb from bottom to top during the race after km 11th!
Anyway, it was a sign that I was not ready for a marathon, but that things was going well! So I kept training ... and praying ... training ... and praying ... and these months can be cut short, just by saying that my longest training has been of about 2 hours and few minutes, and that was NOT enough at all to run a marathon, but at that time I really didn't know.
So ... finally the marathon days arrived!! On October 28th I went to Milan for the biggest IT show in Italy, SMAU, I slept by a very kind friend, and in the morning of Tuesday 29th I finally took a taxi for the airport to leave for with a very cheap ticket with KLM, first to Schipol (Amsterdam), and finally from Schipol to Newark (the picture below is me in the Schipol airport internet point while waiting for the flight for NY). The stop in Schipol was not just technical, but chosen. I've been in this airport three years before and I just wanted to be back in the one that I consider the best airport I visited up to date.
My stay in New York was offered from a Polish friend of mine, Krzysztof, that I really didn't meet in person before. We met each other not "over the internet", like is more common now, but over the "BBSs" back in 1994 ... Many of you don't even know what this is about, but before the spreading of the internet to the masses, people used to run BBSs on their personal PCs. A computer, some files to share, a modem (not 56k, but 14k) and some people calling to upload and download files. On that systems, it was possible to log-in and chat with the "SYSOP", and so I met this wonderful guy. Who could imagine, in 1994, that in 2002 he was going to host me for the New York Marathon? His family was 100% catholic, they was so kind to me and treating me as a gift of God, and they let me sleep in their dining room over a sofa ... which for me was a king accommodation: I was really feeling welcome there!
On Friday I had to go and pick my BIB number, in a very crowded "Moscone Center". There I bought as special pair of running socks, the first "asymmetrical" I had ever seen (left sock different than right sock, properly structured to cushion running), and some special NY Marathon branded gear, that from that race on, I have always used for my major races, as a sign of thanksgiving to Our Lady, as we will see later on ... I've also bought a special "Nike Race Day" singlet+pants that I used during the race, and that from that days has been left intact unwashed :)
To better describe what I did on Saturday, I find no better way that translating part of what I wrote at 3.53 PM, in the first version of this "WhyThanks" File, that was written only in Italian and directed to my friends following my adventure from Italy: "
During this 9 months of training, there has not been a single training that I did without saying a part of the Holy rosary. The most blessed Virgin Mary accompanied me in every single step I did, and I believe without any doubt that it is mainly thanks to her HELP that I'm here now, at 3:53PM local New York Time of Saturday November 2, to prepare psychologically for the marathon, after this morning I've run the "International Friendship Run", 4 miles for the friendship among the people with 10.000 people coming from all the parts of the world from the 30.000 that tomorrow will run the marathon. This is why tomorrow I will run once again the whole race with the irreplaceable support of the prayer, to which I hope a lot of you will join with me. Technically speaking, Marathon is a race of 42195 meters, something more than 26 miles. The start time is 11.10 local time, which will be 17.10 in Italy. Since my race aim is to run below the 3 hours 30 minutes, this will mean that I will run at about 8 minutes per mile. So, from mile 4th to mile 24th, I'm going to pray the 20 mysteries of the rosary in the common order "of Joy", "of Light", "of Sorrow", "of Glory". In case some of you want to spiritually join me, you can do following the above written schema, keeping in mind that the prayer of the heart has no need to be "synchronized" to be pleased to God ... but if you really want to know which mystery I'm praying at a certain time and join me in that, it's just simple math: 17.10 PM + 24 minutes for the first 3 miles, the from 17.34 8 minutes per mystery in which you can pray the same decade together with me :) In particular, it is my intention to offer to the Lord the whole sacrifice of this marathon, the joys, the sufferings, the success of arriving to the finish line or the defeat of needing to withdraw, for the peace in the world, for the peace in the families, and for the life, especially for the unborn one ... and for the "prayer of the 25" that we are working on together with Mary and our prayer group, in which we will be praying right for the same intentions waiting for the monthly message from Medjugorje.
You see, I was serious! obviously joking with the "math schema", but well determined to run to the end and really serious about prayer.
Now, just keep in mind that picture of the man with a kilt, and let's move on .... to the MARATHON DAY!
One friend knowing me very well, told me that she has never seen me so happy like in that picture, wearing my "Race Day" singlet+pants and doing a sincere smile, in front of the house of my friend in Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Long Island ...
Few minutes after I was kindly driven by Krzysztof to the nearest possible point to the Verrazzano Bridge, now very well know not only because it's the start of the most know marathon over the planet, but even because on the infamous September 11 one of the four hijacked airplanes flown over it in its deadly path towards the World Trade Center.
From a place under the bridge, I reached the starting area at about 8:30, said "farewell" to my friend, and reached the wide pre-race area, where I had to wait till 11am for the start. During that time, it was possible to see ANY kind of people laying on a wide area of the grass and preparing for the marathon in ANY way you can think about: there was also an ecumenical religious service that allowed the catholic part of the runners to have the Sunday Mass celebrated, and so to "power up" our body with the most powerful fuel around ...
The cannon "boom" was regularly shot around 11am, but with my bib number around 13000, I was able to pass the starting line only three minutes after it, and I've been VERY lucky! consider that there were bib numbers higher than 30000 passing it after more than 10 minutes!
For the first 3 miles it was quite impossible to "run", as people was slowly flooding shoulder to shoulder packing fully the upper and lower lanes of the bridge, and it was funny to hear people on the lower one responding to some yelling coming for the upper one :) Then after the first 3 miles, we entered a very long piece of straight road, where people support began and just did not end up to the very last meter of the marathon ... and I see that a number of marathoners that run NY at least once, testimony that they could finish the marathon only for the tremendous support of those crazy Americans ... on that straight road, everyone wanted to "five" my hand, and I was risking to have it finally injured if I did not retire it!
Here I could tell of so many little "events" that I could fill pages and pages, but I think that this event has to be LIVED to understand it fully ... so I will just tell that while going among the flow of people, the holy rosary was flowing inside me as the prayer of Jesus in the Russian pilgrim, and that time passed so fast that I really had no chance to focus my mind on my fatigue and pain ...
Then km 27 come, and I was starting feeling very "tired", the first serious marathon pains ... and was slowing down a bit, until I was handed a strange green pack from one of the volunteers at km. 29. At that point, there is no much oxygen going on in your brain, and whatever they give you probably you just get and eat it ... and so I did, and I still can remember that disgusting taste of the sweet syrup, as I can cleary remember the sensations of my legs after few hundred meters ... I use to say that I started seeing my body here and my legs few meters forward, as in a cartoon ... It was my first meeting with quick carbs, something that obviously I could not even imagine they existed, anyway they worked well .. so well that gained once again trust in me, and started surpassing people dozens by dozens. To keep one with such surpassing, I jumped on the pedestrian side of a bridge while I saw the "20 Miles" sign approaching ...
Wow ... 6 miles to go! Almost done! And so I thought while passing the sign to the left ... and .. after ... few ... meters ... I started ... thinking ... and slowing down .... telling my .. self ... BUT ... WHERE .. THE BIIIIIIIIIIIIP .... WAS ... THE TIME ... MAT? When I realized that it was ONLY below the sign, I had to turn back for few hundred meters, pass under the sign and over the time mat, and finally put my legs back on route, ... and now my legs was not forward but just back .. as it was my enthusiasm.
Within 1 miles my biceps started aching more than usual, and I said myself ... let's stop and receive a massage, or I won't finish the race. So I stopped, a kind volunteer rubbed my muscles a bit with some oily thing, and I was back in track with ... the same pain: here I learned another basic marathon lesson, which is that such pains, when they come, will cease only after the finish line, so better keep your teeth tight and reach it ASAP ...
Finally Central Park ... well, not finally, because when you enter it you really think the race is finished, while these are usually the three longer miles in someone's life, as the finish line seems not come ever ... but at that point support from people is so strong that you easily get to the end ... about the last two miles, I can only recall my friend Krzysztof yelling at me to look at him, so that he could take the following pictures ... and a man that run the whole marathon with a Kilt, finally surpassing me .... what a shame, defeated by a kilted one (which Krzys could not spot with his digital camera :)!
I finally got to the finish line ... with an Official time of 3h48m10s real time (the one from the cannon) but a real time of 3h45m55s Real Time (from the starting mat to the ending one) ... not bad for a first-time marathoner with a faulty hip :-) See the certificate that I later received home ...
On the pictures below you can see the "flow" of people that at the arrival are handed the finisher medal and a sheet of some material to help you not loose too much heath while trying to reach the "family reunion area" where someone is supposed to wait for you: here I'm there, together with my friend Krzys, with my finisher medal at my neck ... and with a certain smile ....
when telling friends about this moment I usually say: EVERY single part of my body was aching, muscles, tendons, bones, stomach ... but NOT my "faulty hip", nor my backbone ... to be short: not any of my key physical problems that stopped me from running for years! Praise the Lord!
I will let people think that this could all be obtained by natural means, at the end I really did not receive any EVIDENCE of a specific miraculous intervention, anyway for me that "missing pain" was like a scientific demonstration of the constant presence of God besides me and his will for me to end this race ... and the fact of FINISHING that marathon was a real miracle, full stop.
This concept was "crystal clear" to me the very moment I crossed the finish line, but even more now that after almost 6 years and the experience of 3 more marathons, I'm really aware that I was athletically "not prepared" to finish it: no sufficient training, completely wrong way of managing energies throughout the race and other several major technical mistakes during the 26 miles! Even the weight factor was against me, because even if from that famous "Fasting Advent", to the marathon MONTH, I've lost 8 Kgs .... Marathon Month ... I don't dare to think about my weight on the Marathon DAY: the very kind family that hosted me, as a sign of friendly welcome, just fed me like a pig ... so much that AFTER the marathon my weight was 3 kg higher than when I left Italy !!!
Anyway, what Is sure is that during the marathon I had also some "spiritual" support from my home town, and from around the internet .. a lot of people was praying for me, not only for me to be able to finish this marathon, but also because I was offering my "sport sacrifice" for the specific intentions I mentioned above ..
This is for me a key point for the catholic runner: EVERY sacrifice can be offered to god, why not running? Think about how many people do train or run only for their body or their pleasure .. why not training and praising the lord for the gift of having legs, of having fast running legs, for the gift of wind passing by and for so many running-brothers giving you such a beautiful sensation? Try talk to a disabled athlete, and ask him about the gift of legs, if you dare...
Finally, let me say that I'm SURE that WITHOUT the help of prayer and fasting, and especially the Holy Rosary, I would NEVER have been able to Finish my first Marathon: The Most Blessed Virgin Mary is really our Mother, and she loves each one of us with the same infinite motherly love, and she is always ready to help us in ANY of our need, if we only ask ... which I just dared to do.
From that New York Marathon, my thanksgiving for the "gift of running" has been practically continuous ... and as a sign of such gratitude from that day on I used a special NY Marathon running suit that I bought at the Marathon expo for that special reason.
In particular, for the 2006 Rome Marathon I've printed something special on the
back of the singlet .... as you can see here ..
It's in Italian, and it means "I wait for you ... in Medjugorje" :)
What happened from that day on ... is very ... funny :) On the Rome Marathon day, during the marathon, a Marathoner talked with me saying "My best compliments for the beautiful message you have on the back", and so I could talk with him about going to Medjugorje (it was around the 15th km in front of St. Peter) ... another one touched my back over the image, and as I turned to see him I saw him doing the sign of the cross, blinking at me and .... swoosh ... quickly disappearing at the horizon within one minute, making me feel ashamed for my low pace ...
... and several other little things like those ones, in any of the races and
training where I have worn the singlet above, that now is about to "die" for
over-usage ... Peace Marathon 2008 would probably be the last one I manage to run
with it before it breaks definitively ...
But yes, peace Marathon 2008 ... this is the main reason
of this page, and those above was the "few lines of text" that was necessary to
try to explain part of the reasons why this event was immediately so important
to me the INSTANT I knew about it. During all of these 6 years during which I've been praying
the rosary during my training, I obviously also had a lot of doubts about being
right or not, being crazy or not, if it was good to pray while running or
whatever ... One confirmation arrived a pair of years after the
marathon, and even this is Medjugorje related: during one of my Medjugorje trips
in 2004, before getting back home, I just grabbed a little religious newspaper
which seemed interesting from the pension of a Friend .. I love to read in
English, and so I thought to give it a view since it looked like no one was
interested in it ... imagine my surprise when after a few months, that booklet
got out of the dust in the middle of the pile of to-read things I have in my
bathroom, and I noticed an interesting article about a person Praying the rosary
regularly while doing his daily run! He went to the point of asking his parish
priest about it, and he said ... why not? But the news of a REAL Marathon in Medjugorje, was the
BIGGEST confirmation I could ever had ... the confirmation that five years of
training with the Holy Rosary was not in vain, and that they had a sense, and
probably was also bringing some fruit! And not only: for so many years I
had in mind to one day organizing a running event in Medjugorje, but just did
not dare to even speak about it to anyone, as it seemed to strange for me in
such an holy place ... but now I will dare up to the point of proposing a
TRIATHLON event one day here! Anyway, in that May 17th 2007, I closed the website almost with tears in my eyes for not being able to teleport
in Medjugorje, with the firm intention of getting in touch with the organization
for the following year edition as soon I could be back in Medjugorje!
Unfortunately, I could get there later than I expected, because in the meanwhile
my father had a TERRIBLE car accident in which he risked his life seriously, and
I could not travel to Medjugorje before December But on a weekly basis I was checking the Marathon website to see
if there was some news about 2008 edition ... and on November 14th I found the
new site for the 2008 ... so I applied IMMEDIATELY and the system told me I was
applicant number 2! So somehow I decided to send
few lines of text to the
organization, and in matter of few hours I had Robert Rukavina very kindly call
me to talk about it. We later met in January, and I offered all of my cooperation to
help people from Italy get there, and he asked me to write an "extended" version
of my testimony, which here it is. And I think it's long enough!
But yes, peace Marathon 2008 ... this is the main reason of this page, and those above was the "few lines of text" that was necessary to try to explain part of the reasons why this event was immediately so important to me the INSTANT I knew about it.
During all of these 6 years during which I've been praying the rosary during my training, I obviously also had a lot of doubts about being right or not, being crazy or not, if it was good to pray while running or whatever ...
One confirmation arrived a pair of years after the marathon, and even this is Medjugorje related: during one of my Medjugorje trips in 2004, before getting back home, I just grabbed a little religious newspaper which seemed interesting from the pension of a Friend .. I love to read in English, and so I thought to give it a view since it looked like no one was interested in it ... imagine my surprise when after a few months, that booklet got out of the dust in the middle of the pile of to-read things I have in my bathroom, and I noticed an interesting article about a person Praying the rosary regularly while doing his daily run! He went to the point of asking his parish priest about it, and he said ... why not?
But the news of a REAL Marathon in Medjugorje, was the BIGGEST confirmation I could ever had ... the confirmation that five years of training with the Holy Rosary was not in vain, and that they had a sense, and probably was also bringing some fruit! And not only: for so many years I had in mind to one day organizing a running event in Medjugorje, but just did not dare to even speak about it to anyone, as it seemed to strange for me in such an holy place ... but now I will dare up to the point of proposing a TRIATHLON event one day here!
Anyway, in that May 17th 2007, I closed the website almost with tears in my eyes for not being able to teleport in Medjugorje, with the firm intention of getting in touch with the organization for the following year edition as soon I could be back in Medjugorje! Unfortunately, I could get there later than I expected, because in the meanwhile my father had a TERRIBLE car accident in which he risked his life seriously, and I could not travel to Medjugorje before December
But on a weekly basis I was checking the Marathon website to see if there was some news about 2008 edition ... and on November 14th I found the new site for the 2008 ... so I applied IMMEDIATELY and the system told me I was applicant number 2! So somehow I decided to send few lines of text to the organization, and in matter of few hours I had Robert Rukavina very kindly call me to talk about it.
We later met in January, and I offered all of my cooperation to help people from Italy get there, and he asked me to write an "extended" version of my testimony, which here it is. And I think it's long enough!
Now some closing considerations, that's just a rework of something I've written just after the New York Marathon in 2002: within our catholic church there are people that state that is "impossible" to live without Mary. Well, I do not completely agree, I think that it is possible to live without Mary ... personally I have lived 30 years without even knowing her, but believe me, is like living without human mother ... for me, Mary has been the biggest help to get "back in track" and do key quality steps in my faith path on this heart.
On the litanies, we call Mary as "Help of Christians" ... and this is a certain reality. As we have learned in Medjugorje, Maria never shows herself before God, before his son Jesus, she is always "in the background" and sometimes is even difficult to realize she's there ... she's so humble that she does not want people to notice her ... here is where she was in my "first 30 days without her" ... she was ALWAYS with me, waiting for the permission from the Holy Father Who is in the Heaven to make a specific entrance in my life.
In one of the Medjugorje messages she told us "it is not important that people believe to my messages, but that they convert to My Son". Well, in converting to Her son, the help that can come from her is so big that for most of the human being, at least for those who are not holy already, it's practically an irreplaceable, indispensable help.
In 2002 I was "offering" my first marathon for the kids that was victim of a tragedy happened days before in Italy, and for the peace in the world, not forgetting that it was just one year after the 11/9 tragedy, and that the year before MOST of the marathoners was running with a sign saying "UNITED WE RUN" going around ground zero ...
Now in 2008, I hereby renew my consecration of ALL of my prayers, and ALL of my efforts in this life, INCLUDING my Sports fatigues, for her intentions ... as I'm really convinced that she can make the right use of all of our prayer much better that we do ourselves ...
Mary, Our Lady and Queen of Peace, Pray for us and for the whole word!!!