‘Run Italy Run’ is a project produced by C41 under the creative direction of L+L (Leone Balduzzi and Luca A. Caizzi) and directed by Leone. This project – developed during lockdown – is finally ready for release and C41 is inviting Italy to run as a synonym of rebirth and positivity.
The act of running is often portrayed from a highly competitive angle or as a sport that generally takes place in an urban context. C41 decided to take a step back and find people of different ages, interests and personalities who run for pure passion, highlighting the community aspect behind this pastime. C41 also wanted to highlight the many peripheral areas where people run, to separate running from its reputation as a big city sport.
The result is an editorial piece on C41 magazine that opens with words from Naomi Accardi.
Running, what a bizarre concept. The word itself offers multiple interpretations. A fundamental sporting discipline, yet the most difficult to pledge devotion to.
Running is a very abstract concept. There’s no real end goal if you practice at amateur level. You must set your own purpose and pace. It’s a challenge against yourself. On the track, on turf, on cement, on a mountain trail, it’s just you and your breath. Your surroundings almost vanish. You can hear your consciousness awake, you tune in with your lungs. Inhale, Exhale. Foot up, foot down.
All of a sudden you can feel every muscle in your body, the little cracks produced by the impact with the soil.
For a second, you forget there is even music playing in your ears. The nature, the urban landscape, the gym environment.. gone! It’s just you and your soul in uncorrupted synchronicity.
A drop of sweat stings your left eye, you are brought back to reality. The techno jams you picked for your motivational playlist make a come back, louder than before, disrupting the magic instance. That second of unscathed bliss disappears, now the breathing is heavy.
You start to feel the fatigue, you want to give up but you won’t allow yourself to. You are committed to finishing the mile. The smart watch pressing against your wrist feels hefty like the high-pitch, bustling shriek of a coach bullying you into not giving up from the sidelines, piercing your ear drums.
“Eyes on the prize” you tell yourself. But what is the prize? A cold beer, a beautiful scenic view, not being late to your 9:00 AM meeting? “Who schedules 9AMs anyways?!”, you shrug that thought off, it’s the devil speaking. The prize is breaking your personal record.
Some do it out of pure passion, some commit to it as a New Year’s resolution to curb the holiday weight, some run to forget, some do it because they wake up late and they need to run in order to meet their scheduled timelines.
A very famous proverb spells “You gotta learn how to walk before you can run”, but if we are only taught how to walk and running comes spontaneously right after, does it mean running is embedded into our being from before we are born? That lays the ground for no excuses. We must run. Forrest Gump is the proof.
Running is daring. Running is discipline. Running is patience. Running is decompression. Running means alert, running means freedom.
The urban environment forces city dwellers to rush, flipping the meaning of jogging, skewing its many nuances and interpretations into one main condition, compelling us into a perpetual state of adrenaline-filled haste.
Dashing up the stairs in the metro station, jumping off the stairs to catch the train, the city becomes the race track. Its infrastructures being the hurdles. The finish line is your work place, bar, meeting point, wherever you are urged to arrive. Our lives become a marathon, with quick sprints to overtake time itself.
But what happens when our turf is not a metropolis? When our surroundings are nature and stillness?
The province, the suburbs, both of them thrive off physical labor rather than white collar work, so what are people running from?
The culture of running flourishes in the small towns.
The regimen is rooted into mindfulness and fitness. Is it the welcoming surroundings? Is it the slower lifestyle? Are we as humans innately bound to running? Or are we simply afraid of hush?
In circumstances of danger, we are urged to run. When the world stops, when our livelihood is taken from us, when we are locked in, our instinct tells us to start moving, fast and faster, towards the unknown. We want to break free. An electric buzz starting in our brain swiftly travels down our limbs energizing our whole body, propelling us to just go.
Running is joy, running is resistance, running is self-control, running is self-awareness.
A tool for self-grounding and a switch to tune out from the daily chaos we are now living in, you don’t need any specific athletic skill to be a runner except for determination.
A promised moment of emancipation, a way out of psychological burden. Running sees no class. Nothing matters during the motion. Our jobs, our struggles, our connections. It’s just us and our heartbeat.
Running is a metaphor for resilience both collective and individual. No wonder so many civilians use running as a meter for self accountability, to break the constraints our very own minds boxes us in.
We run towards our dreams, we run to find happiness at the end of the track. Because honestly what’s better than the finish line?
Running can be a metaphor for life itself, maybe this is why it’s the most popular physical activity amongst people of all ages. Running means challenging ourselves, it’s a break between our home life and our public life. It freezes time, building power and expectation for what’s coming after. The momentum, that’s what it’s called. Us against ourselves rather than us against the world for once.
Run Leone Run
Leone is originally from San Salvo, Abruzzo. He has lived in Milan for 20 years; he is an advertising director and photographer. He is an all-round creative, editor of C41 Magazine and partner at K48. He goes running several times a week and tries never to run less than 8km per session. He is a creature of habit, always taking the same route so that he can focus on his goals. Leone not only directs this film, at times autobiographical, he also stars in it.
Run Martilde Run
Marta Matilde Favilli, also known as ‘Martilde’, is 28 years old. She is from Mestre but has lived in Milan for 8 years and is a young entrepreneur working in the world of food: her mission is to bring Venetian tramezzini to Milan. She danced for many years but learned to appreciate running as a way to let off steam. She has always run alone, preferably outdoors so that she can concentrate on the beauty of nature and the environment around her.
Run Allison Run
Allison Fullin is from Jesolo, her mother is from Cuba, but she was born in Treviso. Allison moved to Milan some years ago where she now works as a fashion stylist and personal image consultant. When she was younger, Allison did athletics and competitive high jump; she usually runs at the end of the day, if she’s not too tired from work, and uses it as a way to release stress and negative thoughts.
Creative Concept: C41
Creative direction: L+L
Ex. Creative Producer: Alessandro De Agostini
Photographer: Luca A. Caizzi
DP: Andrea Dutto
Editor: Igor Ragazzi, Vittoria Elena
Producer: Camilla Romeo
Strategic Planner: Walter Junior Cassetta
1st AD and 2 Unit (VHS): Emma Scarafiotti
2nd Unit (Film): Carlo Banfi
Aereal Photography: Giovanni Nardi
Stylist: Julia Beo
Colorist: Daniel Pallucca
Casting Director: Isabella Petricca
Line Producer (Vasto): Antonio Cilli
Apparel and Shoes: Diadora
Talents: Leone Balduzzi, Marta Matilde Favilli, Allison Fullin, Gianvito Fanelli, Zoe Natale Mannella, Michele Scarafiotti
Head of content: Riccardo Fantoni Montana
Magazine Editor: Alice De Santis
Writer: Naomi Accardi