“Italy and Hungary, we are in fact two sports countries”

On the occasion of the 37th edition of the Wizz Air Budapest Half Marathon, which has been one of the biggest half marathons in Central Europe, a cordial reception in true Italian style was hosted by H.E. Manuel Jacoangeli, Ambassador of Italy to Hungary at his residence, attended by Hungarian and Italian officials and guests, connection with this very popular mass sports event, which became traditional in Hungary.

This year 8000 male and female runners from 77 countries stood at the starting line on the 11 September 2022. The half marathon distance is 21.097,5 m on a beautiful running route in the heart of Budapest, passing through the main sights and attractions of the Hungarian capital along the course, including: bridges over the Danube, Gellért Hill, Buda Castle, the Parliament building and the Margaret Island, which offer the runners a special experience.

In his welcome speech, the Head of Mission thanked the presence of the officials, responsible for organising the event: Dr. Tünde Szabó Government Commissioner of the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Richard Adorján, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Anett Bősz, Deputy Mayor of Budapest, General Attila Markó, Deputy Commander of the Budapest Police and Mr Árpád Kocsis and Mr István Máth, Directors of BSI (Budapest Sport Office), then he talked about the importance of sport in people’s lives and its role in international relations:

“Dear Friends, thank you for accepting this invitation to the Italian residence on the eve of the 37th edition of the Wizz Air Half Marathon in Budapest. I am very happy to share the evening with people who believe in the values of sport, it always gives us beautiful emotions and intense days of socialising.

Unfortunately, recent years have been marked by the pandemic and related concerns, now aggravated also by the dramatic conflict taking place in Europe, right on the doorstep of Hungary. The health emergency and the war represent hard times, however, we must not lose our hope. A formidable antidote is to be able to finally return to competitions and healthy competitive spirit.

Physical exercise strengthens our confidence, rewards us with the results obtained thanks to our commitment. Sport makes all of us members of our communities recognised, because there is no better feeling – even if we are not Olympic champions – than to see your national flag soaring high, thanks to the champions we love. This emotion is also given to us by the sport. Therefore, it is very important to support and finance sport by both the public and private sectors, something we do well in Italy and Hungary, even if the resources could always be even greater.

We are in fact two sports countries that not by chance obtain flattering results in international competitions in all disciplines, among which running has a central place.

Before going into more details on running, please allow me to mention two other sports disciplines, both in honour of Dr. Tünde Szabó: the swimming and to underline the outstanding organisation of the recent FINA World Aquatics Championships in Hungary in 2022, and the cycling in consideration of the recent Grande Partenza (Great Start) of the Giro d’Italia 2022 from Budapest, from where the cycle race then moved to Lake Balaton.

Running events extremely well promote the sporting spirit and have an extraordinary ability to bring more and more people closer to sport. It is the only discipline where we amateurs can participate in the same races with the great champions.

The Budapest Half Marathon boasts a glorious past of more than three decades and is the most popular and important competition of this category in Hungary. For Hungarian amateur runners, it is an almost essential competition, but not only for them, in fact this year there will be participants from 77 countries around the world, among them obviously numerous Italians, including myself, who already ran it last year.

The next edition of this Half Marathon is of particular importance in several respects: it brings an international sporting event to Budapest, and we know how much sport is driving the economy of tourism, social inclusion and knowledge among peoples. Amateur athletes of many nationalities will race together along the Danube and will be able to admire the beauties of Budapest, including the magnificent panorama of the Castle and the Parliament Building.

In addition to Wizz Air, which has been the main sponsor for eight years now, there are numerous other private and public operators who support this beautiful initiative. Let me mention one, which is important for my country: the Kometa company, a beautiful Italian entrepreneurship and reality in Hungary. A warm welcome to the top management of the company here present, Giacomo and Sabrina Pedranzini, and their collaborators. The support of sport is nothing new for this company, because they are firmly convinced that in addition to a healthy diet, regular physical activity is also very important and they are confident that through their support for sporting events they will contribute to the broad promotion of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.

I conclude by thanking BSI again for the extraordinary teamwork that allows them to organise this prestigious sport event year after year, the sponsors who place their trust in the initiative, the authorities who support it and the police who guarantee everyone’s safety. sporting events. I express my sincere wishes for full success to the Wizz Air Half Marathon and the subsequent SPAR Marathon in October 2022, which crowns the running season in Hungary, and that I am more and more tempted to run.”

Source: Embassy of Italy in Budapest