BMW riders are known for their love of a challenge – this was made clearer than ever at the recent Milano City Marathon. The event is Italy’s second biggest marathon, and attracts more than 10,500 runners and 60,000 visitors. This year, BMW Motorrad was there with participants and visitors every step of the way as an official partner to the race.
BMW motorcycles played a key role on the day – not least because14 bikes from the current model range were provided to RCS Sport, which organises the race. They were used by journalists and TV cameramen to capture the action live from the streets. Three separate BMW Motorrad dealerships in the area donated the machines for the day, ensuring great exposure, both on television and to the 70,000 people who came to Milan for the marathon.
But BMW Motorrad did not stop at supporting the race – it also took part, entering 12 running teams. The groups of runners were all found through the brand’s official portal on social networking site Facebook. They completed the 26-mile (42.2km) route in a relay format, with members of the team tackling one 10km section each. The Facebook contest to find representatives was held three weeks before the marathon – the athletic ability of those who were successful was reflected in their times. All teams finished in less than four hours, with times ranging from three hours 26 minutes to three hours 46 minutes. The runners were provided with customised technical t-shirts, from official marathon supplier Mizuno, bearing the BMW Motorrad Italia logo.
To support the event and its visitors, an official Marathon Village was created in the heart of Milan for four days – from 7 April to 10 April, the day of the run. BMW Motorrad’s stand was a huge draw throughout, attracting both current and potential customers. Two celebrity visitors who provided a huge draw were WSBK riders James Toseland and Ayrton Badovini. The team-mates turned up to sign autographs, chat to fans and pose for pictures with the hard-working BMW Motorrad running teams. They also provided interviews and pictures for the RCS journalists covering the race. Staff at the stand handed out catalogues and other giveaways throughout the four days and dealer contacts were on-hand at all times for those interested in buying a motorcycle.
While the Marathon may not have been the kind of race motor racing fans are used to, there was one familiar sight – the ever-popular grid girls. The girls were positioned at the end of each section to give passing runners a boost and improve team visibility.
The race itself is the fastest marathon course in Italy and the relay version of the race is hugely popular, attracting more than 1,200 teams. This year was the 11th time the event has been held and, as in the previous four years, Kenya was victorious in the men’s race, with a time of two hours and 10 minutes by Solomon Bushendich. The women’s title was taken by Marcella Mancini, in two hours and 41 minutes. The relay in which the BMW Motorrad runners took part is a non-competitive element.
The decision to become an official partner to the marathon was due to a number of similarities between the profile for a marathon runner and a BMW Motorrad customer – both are adventurous people who like a challenge; they devote their spare time to their passion; are young and dynamic; have a good income and social position; and enjoy sharing experiences as a team.