Running is where passion, work, and individual progress meet, explains Diadora Global Running Brand Manager

Eliud Kipchoge, one of the most majestic modern-day runners, once said “Athletics is not so much about the legs. It’s about the heart and mind.” In Floriano Macchione’s running, heart and mind rhyme with pace and time, choice and evolution, athletic challenge and professional horizons. From the Navigli to the Las Vegas desert, the hills of Bologna to the performance research and development laboratories…. Running in the daily life of this Venetian athlete-manager has a multitude of dimensions: there’s the workout and competition, the free and rational stylistic expression, but first and foremost there is the dimension of the legendary Italian brand Diadora, where Floriano is currently serving as Global Running Brand Manager.

“I run a hundred kilometers per week. The afternoon becomes a nightmare if I don’t go running by lunch. It’s like I’m missing something. I feel like I’m going crazy, I don’t know how to explain it…. It’s a physical and mental necessity. I’d love to run every day in the desert, but I can’t do it. In Milan, I would run up and down the Navigli for a couple of years; on Strava I became a kind of ‘local legend’. Now I travel a lot and manage to run in other places, such as in the Prosecco Hills, near the Diadora headquarters, or in Philadelphia, where the brand has its American base. Running is fundamental for me and my work: it is a meeting point of many different factors. It’s a passion that strengthens connections inside and outside the company and helps develop human relationships and improve professional knowledge. In Diadora, I’m lucky to work side by side with Gelindo Bordin, the only Olympic champion also able to win the Boston Marathon: it is stimulating, we work together on products, test shoes and talk all the time. We also joke about my running from time to time; he often makes fun of me. For example, I ran my 10-kilometer PB a few weeks ago: 36 minutes. He told me it was a good time for grocery shopping…”

Despite his young age, Floriano Macchione can already boast to have had a rich and layered journey, a personal marathon that began in the infinite solitude of a football goal, carried on through a pioneering Master’s degree in Sport Strategy and Business, all culminating in a hybrid running scenario, divided between asphalt, unexplored territory, and a desk. In a modern brand, it is possible to be a modern athlete and a modern manager. Floriano has managed to be in the right places at the right times, first by nurturing his own sporting vision and philosophy in the colossus Nike, then becoming a crucial element for Diadora, which has repeatedly rewritten the history of the most democratic of sports.

“I started swimming in the same Venetian pool where a very young Federica Pellegrini was training. Then I switched to football, where I was a goalkeeper for many years. There I discovered the concept and value of solitude, which I translated into running. But running came later, when I was about 21 years old. It was 2010 and everyone was into jogging, that’s it. I had to disguise myself when I went out running at night. Running was considered a non-sport, a waste of time that people did to stay in shape or lose weight. When I joined Nike, the perception of this sports universe was ripe for change, and so was my own relationship with running. In the Bologna office I met former middle-distance runner Vénuste Niyongabo (the first Olympic champion in Burundi’s history) and I started running in the hills with him every lunch break. In Bologna, I competed in my first half marathon and from that moment running for me became something very different. At that time in history, the scene was evolving. When I moved to Milan it literally exploded, both in terms of the production of the technical material and the attention to other elements for its transition, like aesthetics and technology, but also in things like running clubs inside companies and running communities in the city. I simply followed that huge flow of material and digital energy and still follow it with passion and consistency.”

After his experience in Nike and the void left by the pandemic, Macchione decided to reboot, focusing on extremely grueling races. The Arctic Circle, the Petra Desert and the South African moors are just some of the tests Floriano put to his mind and body, striving to reach greater maturity, all to be poured into his future and current position in Diadora. Medals of valor to attest to rare expertise. Sports acumen that today makes this multi-faceted professional a scarce resource.

“At the beginning I had no sponsors, but I felt like I had to and wanted to do those three extreme races. They were an investment in myself and my portfolio. In order to take on certain challenges, you have to be an athlete, or better yet, an extremely meticulous and prepared human being: I believe those experiences were formative and fundamental in getting my role in Diadora. In my new job, I discovered an example of excellence in the Made in Italy trademark, a brand that combines innovation, craftsmanship, knowledge, and identity. Everything in Diadora is developed in a specific geographical part of Veneto: I think it’s a great strength, it’s something that distinguishes the brand and has fascinated me from the very first moment. I know that I get seen as someone out-of-the-box, but I’m actually very attached to my company: I believe very much in the path it has taken, and participating in this process gives me a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction. There will always be moments of frustration, but the stimuli will always prevail. Just like in running.”