“I’m a midnight runner! You’ll be one of them if you participate on the 26th of September in Milan, Italy. If any of you have been to the city lately you might have seen young people, runners or not, walking dressed with this slogan.

Therefore the idea is not to run in solitude but rather to attend the event which will be held in the city for the fourth year in a row: the “MidnightRun 2014” at the Peace Arc.

The midnight ride is organized by the milanese association MenteCorpo to support Anlaids, the section of Lombardia. It will be a non-profit event where no attention is paid to competitiveness but rather to participation, as a movement of people who come together to have fun, but above all to communicate their commitment to social issues. It will be “conscious fun” as Andrea Colombo, the initiator of the event describes it with the aim of “changing their habits, being more engaged, changing, being ‘outside the box’, to free their creativity and their own resources.”

“But the association gets involved not just with AIDS, but with a variety of topics related to health and well-being” explains Mattia Castaldo, who was in charge of the media diffusion of the event. In 2011, the MidnightRun was in fact organized to talk about the “buzz” and abuse of alcohol, then in 2012 it was the turn of Anlaids to support the fight against AIDS and to achieve the goal of zero transmission.

This theme shouldn’t be underestimated, in fact according to the local medical agency, Milan has registered in 2013 56 percent of new HIV cases, the highest rate in the country. That is to say, there are three new cases every two days, and in 2012, over 572 patients were taken, approximately double compared to the previous years (226 infections in 2010 and 289 in 2012). Every year in Italy there are about four thousand new diagnoses of infection (3,800 in 2012), an average of ten every day. However, the mortality rate of the virus in Italy is the lowest in the world: from 100 percent in 1984 the fatality rate fell to 5.7 percent in 2013.

Running means awareness, psycho-physical well-being but also social commitment, as part of the profit will be donated to Anlaids. As Mattia explains, With 10 euros you can get your online registration at the race, you’ll get a T-shirt (orange, white, black or yellow), a Gatorade drink, a copy of the magazine Starbene and a condom. Additionally, for each fee, one euro will be donated to Anlaids.

The participation at these events is growing from year to year, as Mattia said: “Years ago, the participation was limited due above all to the restricted use of social networks and little energy was invested into communication, but then last year there was a big step towards communication and much has been done including via Facebook. Participation has grown a lot, so there’s also the thought to extend the event to other cities.”