Runaway’s event explained by its protagonists

Sweating voices in the Milanese night. Some bodies speed late on Via Ugo Bassi sidewalks, still searching for the finish line of a frantic and tangible metropolitan video game. Mind the Gap tests the essence of every runner. Body and mind. Rationality and irrationality. Selfishness and altruism. Between checkpoints every detail burns energy, every factor is crucial in solving yet another riddle made by Runaway. The exhausted MTG protagonists use these words, sharing emotions and visions as frosty beers pass from hand to hand. Fatigue and frustration already seem a distant memory, erased by the sense of community that pervades the sultry Milanese peace. It is during this moment, just after the ecstasy or pain of the stuck stopwatch, that the true meaning of this event takes shape. Let’s hear it.

Vinicio Villa

“The race went unexpectedly well, I didn’t think I would win because a few hours ago I was running on the Stelvio. Mind the Gap is totally different from what I usually do. It is devastating, because you never know what pace to choose, but at the same time it is exciting, because at every checkpoint you feel the thrill of the unknown. You bond with other people, even strangers. For example, I ran a few miles with a guy who knew the checkpoints better than I did. He helped me and I told him that if we arrived together, I would let him win. Unfortunately, he had more heart than legs. I am Milanese and it is beautiful to experience the city like this. During summer nights the streets are deserted and you can really feel part of Milan. When I ran in the grand boulevards I really enjoyed every second of it.”

Beatrice Bianco

“I don’t normally run around Milan at night; it’s nice to explore streets I’ve never been on and see the city so empty. When I run in traffic everything seems huge and confusing. At times like this, however, Milan seems tiny and peaceful. It’s an ordinary Monday night in July, but the energy is crazy. I think it’s great that there is this interchange between different crews and people. Many of them wouldn’t have met without Mind the Gap. I started the race pushing to win, but I finished by enjoying the run together with another girl. We were side by side most of the time, when we see each other again we will definitely remember this experience.”

Artem Danko

“I am lucky, because I have known the guys from Runaway for a long time and have participated in all the Mind the Gap editions. In the beginning it was pure adrenaline and the checkpoints were definitely easier to find. Then they evolved the format, and today I had the feeling of launching myself into the unknown. A lot of strategy is required, and I have learned to make connections with others, because otherwise the risk is to burn myself out physically or find unexpected surprises. During MTG, the mind is as valuable as the legs. I’m an adoptive Milanese, I’ve lived here for 7 years and I love that this event has a New York or London vibe, but at the same time it has a proper family dimension. Formats like this put Milan on the same level as the big international metropolises, their movements and their crews. Mind the Gap has above all allowed me to meet so many friends, and I think that is the most important achievement.”

Maria Vittoria Nanut

“I came here wanting to win, but I was a little afraid, because in a race like this it is almost impossible to know if you are calculating the right path and following the right direction. Almost the whole time I felt like I was inside a video game. I’m from Gorizia and half Slovenian, I just started running a year ago when I moved to Milan, so it’s great for me to get in touch with this fantastic environment. I have to thank Floriano Macchione, who introduced me to Runaway and MTG. It is strange to share such a race with so many people, and I am amazed that there were so many girls. Along the way I realized that it’s important to do your own thing, even when you connect with other runners…. I think that’s the best way to try to win. This time it went well for me, so we’ll see how the next edition goes.”

Ippolito Pestellini

“MTG is a beautiful format because it creates so much community. There is a lack of these aggregators in Italy, and it is significant that different crews, who normally run in different places, come together here. Here you rely on others and others rely on you, there is a unique fusion of solidarity and competition. MTG is not only performance, it is also lucidity and planning. It is a unique way of running through the city at night, of seeing it with atypical and truly unique spatial perspectives. I am an architect, and every time I attend events organized by Runaway, I think it would be great to map all the things they have invented over the years: we would see a parallel city, the runners’ city, a different Milan. At the end of the day, I believe that many cities coexist in every city, this is just one of them.”

Photo Credits: Riccardo Romani
Text by: Gianmarco Pacione