The swirling portrait of the secret running event created by Runaway

Mind the Gap exists without existing. It’s a secret rendezvous with the ecstasy of the metropolitan night, the fusion of urban running with the hot Milanese asphalt. Mind the Gap is the interweaving of the exclusive Fight Club rules and the swirling itinerary of a cycling alleycat. We are in the sultry and empty Milanese July, yet about sixty runners are drawn by the underground vibes and sadistic imagination of Runaway, which cyclically challenges the legs and minds of athletes involved in an unparalleled format, at least on Italian soil. A flow of bodies joins the Bussa overpass, the iconic starting point of a challenge that rhymes pace and orienteering. Just few clues and everyone embarks on their own, uncertain, itinerary. The finish line is an unknown populated with rationality and checkpoints. Vinicio Villa and Maria Vittoria Nanut are the first man and woman to decipher the cryptic plot of this edition, kicking off a collective celebration. Because Mind the Gap exists without existing but, as Luca Podetti and Carlo Pioltelli, the minds behind this event, explain, what exists is the aggregative power of an anonymous summer Monday, turned into frenetic speed and competitive sharing.

“The Mind the Gap concept was born from a suggestion by one of our Belgian customers, a New York City resident. After getting in touch with our store and community, he pointed us to the Midnight Half, a night race with checkpoints, organized by the Orchard Street Runners in the Big Apple. We agreed to take inspiration from this format and from the alleycats, the urban courier bike races. Mind the Gap has no rules, just like the Fight Club the only rule is to receive an invitation and avoid talking about it with any other person: if you talk to anyone, you’ll no longer be invited. It’s an event for modern runners who want to feel part of a movement, sharing this overnight experience and connecting with other crews and people. The idea of community is at the heart of everything, Runaway wants to be first and foremost an aggregation space, and MTG is pure aggregation. We schedule two or three MTGs per year. There are about 60 participants and they have to run on variable circuits of approximately 12 km. The checkpoints also change from edition to edition and normally follow a thematic thread. In past editions, for example, the checkpoints coincided with sexy shops or fishmongers; this year, given the extreme heat, we chose drinking fountains. The trophies follow these themes and are always paired with a ‘sanpietrino’ (cobblestone) and a pigeon, both symbols of Milan. Over time we’ve managed to involve crews and runners from all over Italy and beyond. Now we want to add an annual traveling edition and setting it in other Italian cities. Runners feel the desire to create a sports and cultural movement around our entity, this makes us proud and pushes us to constantly evolve the MTG format, as it happens with many other parallel activities. The desire to continue to be called ‘bastards’ is another motivation for our efforts, because it means that runners have struggled mentally and physically, and they certainly enjoyed the race”

Photo Credits: Riccardo Romani
Text by: Gianmarco Pacione