Traveling to and Day 1 of #Breaking2

Traveling from Boston to Milan This adventure began on the evening of May 4, when I arrived at the Boston Airport. My flight was supposed to leave at 5:20pm and arrive at JFK by 7:00pm, allowing plenty of time to catch my 10:20pm flight to Milan. But because traveling isn’t stressful enough, the President decided to visit NYC the same evening, causing all air space to be cleared for hours before and after his arrival and departure, so all flights in/out of NYC were put on hold. The hours kept ticking away and it got to the point where I wasn’t even sure if I’d get to JFK on time. Huge props to Kate at Nike who literally worked tirelessly and kept in touch to ensure that she would get me to Milan. My favorite text was, “I WILL NOT REST UNTIL YOU ARE ON A PLANE TO MILAN” and she really meant it! Fortunately, the flight landed in time for me walk to the correct terminal and arrive just as the flight was starting to board. That is also where I met fellow Airbnb contest winners, Caleb Duquense from New Orleans and Ryan Shaffer (goes by Shaffer) from NYC. (NRC Toronto Pacer Eric was also on our flight)

JFK airport

We then proceeded the biggest plane I’d ever flown on. When I traveled to Ghana we were on a big plane, but this one was two floors and even the coach seats were quite spacious. I’d like to say the flight went without any incident, but unfortunately I got violently ill a few hours in. After puking my guts out, I returned to my seat where I suffered through an hour of a raging headache, before falling asleep for a few hours and woke up feeling much better.

We landed in Milan, and after breezing through customs, met our driver as well as two other contest winners – one from Korea and one from Taiwan.

Milan airport

We then started the drive out to Monza and for parts of the drive the Alps provided an an incredible backdrop. We finally arrived at Parco di Monza where Nike and Airbnb had literally built Breaking2 Camp.

camp opening

me against fence

I stayed in yurt 25 with my awesome tentmate Kate, from the UK.

yurt outside

yurt inside


Here are some photos of what the rec area of the camp looked like:

rec area


Breaking2 Together – Not long after we arrived, our first event was announced – “Breaking2 Together” a 300+ person relay in Piazza Duomo. Nike built a 42-meter track in the middle of the square:


42 meter track

piazza duomo skillyx

                                                                                                                                                         PC: @xskillyx

duomo skilly

                                                                                                                                                     PC: @xskillyx

They decked us out in  #Breaking2Together shirts and the new Nike Pegasus shoes:

B2together squad


                                                                                                                                               PC: @maxmenning


This event was hosted by Carl Lewis & Kevin Hart (who ran the very first and last legs of the whole relay)

Lewis and Hart

                                                                                                                                               PC: @maxmenning

Runners were put on teams and each member of every team ran the track 3 times, for a total mileage of a marathon with the ultimate goal seeing if together we could break 2 hours for a marathon.

team bibs SKILLY_

                                                                                                                                                         PC: @xskillyx


                                                                                                                                                         PC: @xskillyx


                                                                                                                                               PC: @maxmenning

Ilario MaxMenning

                                                                                                                                               PC: @maxmenning

caleb relay SKILLY

                                                                                                                                                         PC: @xskillyx

team white PIM

                                                                                                                                                     PC: @pimrinkes




                                                                                                                                                         PC: @xskillyx

There was also DOPE live band during the whole relay.

violin MaxMenning

                                                                                                                                               PC: @maxmenning

B2T band

                                                                                                                                               PC: @maxmenning


                                                                                                                                               PC: @maxmenning

Some of us wandered around the city centre after we ran and that’s when I got to learn about some awesome running crews in eastern Europe including Belgrade, Zagreb & Warsaw. It was fascinating to hear about how these crews are striving to #bridgethegap through urban running crews. Some of my favorite photos (taken by the talented @marekogien) are from our unintentional walking tour of Milan that night:

Friday night 2

friday night

We got to back to camp quite late – ate dinner around 11:15pm – and that was when we were told that our wake up call would be at 3:30am. A majority of us were already running on fumes and adrenaline but the buzz and excitement of Breaking2 was on the forefront of our minds and Coach Bennett reminded us that it was our responsibility to go out and support these runners and pacers. It was the only evening of the trip in which everyone went to bed without much fanfare.

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