Run for Elio (Corro per Elio)

On the day of my hit-and-run bike accident I got an email from my friend Vito Palmiotti who works for  the company 3M (think post-its!) in Milan. He’s full of enthusiasm for running and has spread the love to his colleagues by creating a running team of more than sixty employees. The Milan 3M headquarters has a private park behind the office building, perfect for lunchtime or after work runs.

Vito told me about a colleague and fellow runner, Corrado Bonavita, whose family had been in a hit-and-run accident last spring. Sadly, his son Elio did not survive and his wife was still in the hospital months later. The running group had decided to organize a charity run to raise awareness for hit-and-run accidents which seem to be increasing at an alarming rate in Italy.

I was lying in my hospital bed waiting for my arm operation with no idea where I’d be in September but I knew I had to be at this event. Who’d have guessed that seven weeks later I’d be driving myself to Milan with running shoes on my feet!

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The 3M team set up a six kilometre course for the Corro per Elioevent in their running park. It was a Friday evening after work and the atmosphere was relaxed. No pre-race tension, just lots of hugs and smiles.

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They asked me to say a few words while everybody was getting to the start. I talked about coincidences, Vito’s email and my own accident – I spoke forty seconds tops.

What I didn’t talk about was that my own mother had been killed by a hit and run when I was ten years old, and fifteen years later I lost my younger brother in a car accident. They’re episodes that not only had an enormous impact on my life but also shaped who I am. It’s why my own accident had a bigger emotional impact than it may have had on someone else. It’s why I felt I had to go to Corro per Elio.

Okayyyyyy. Back to the event…

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The course was a winding path through woods with a mix of pavement and dirt. It’s still really hot here in Italy so the woodsy smell of plants and leaves was intoxicating.

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I started out walking. Then threw in a few minutes of running and before I knew it I was passing people and running steady.

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I loved the relaxed, friendly family atmosphere. It felt a lot like events I’d done in the 90’s when nobody was too concerned about their speed, GPS gadgets or posting live on Facebook. Just an old fashioned run, short and sweet.

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The “sweeper” at the back of the pack even brought a broom. I had a drink of water and then went to say goodbye to Corrado and Vito. They did a fantastic job for this first memorial race with about 350 participants. A really beautiful way to commemorate Elio Bonavita’s life.

  1. Carole
    Oh Julia!
  2. MarciG
    Great story
    • Julia
      Thanks Marci ??
      • Julia
        Omg - where did those question marks pop out from! It was just a simple thanks!!!
  3. Helen
    Much love to you, thank you for sharing. Life and those we love are precious and fragile and worth celebrating in life and loss. Many things reminding me of that lately. Xx
    • Julia
      Agree - hugs to you Helen -
  4. Tessa
    Big warm squeeze from the Netherlands. Beautiful post, thank you <3
    • Julia
      Love ya, Tessa!
  5. Paula
    Such a touching post from the heart. Hugs x
    • Julia
      Thanks Paula, a little hard to write but felt better after.
  6. Patricia
    thank you Julia for posting. Corrado is my dear dear cousin and his boy was so very dearly loved. Thank you for sharing this...he has a huge family in California and your post brought us a little closer. Much affection, patricia
    • Julia
      Oh, this makes me so happy, to have been a connection for your family - Hugs!
  7. Riccardo
    Thank you Julia! I can't thank you enough! I am Patricia's brother who just wrote to you. Like she said. Corrado and his family is dearly loved by his family here in California. Your post allowed my wife to understand better the calamity of the situation over there ( she does not speak Italian). Thank you!!
    • Julia
      Riccardo, this comment made total sense of my 4 hour round trip drive to this race. Baci -
  8. Minna
    Warm hugs for you, Julia, and Elio's family all around the world.
    • Julia
      Thank you Minna - hugs to you too!
  9. Rosetta Bonavita
    thankyou Julia I am also a cousin here in California. This run got me started running everyday. It's something I do because I feel like it connects me somehow. Being so far from Corrado and his family , Simone, his wife Nunzia, our beautiful cousin Valeria, our uncle Elio , Aunt Tina and Corrados brother GianLuca and his family, has been difficult. We all Hope to be reunited someday... Perhaps do the run together next year!!
    • Julia
      Rosetta, wouldn't that be great if you could all come to the run next year?! You should definitely start working on that :-) Condolences to the Bonavita family in California <>
  10. Corrado
    Hi Julia, thank you very much for your posting on "Corro per Elio"I've a great family in California and love you very much, and I miss them so much ! Riccardo, Patricia, Rosetta......I love you ! I hope that you can participate next year.... "ELIO MISSING"
  11. valeria
    Thanks a lot Julia, I am Valeria, Corrado's sister...I appreciate you for your nice idea to translate the Elio's event. I was there, I didn't run but I walked thinking about Elio all the time. I appreciate all the 3M staff...wonderful people!!!!