Needle in a haystack

What are the chances you could re-connect with a person you only met for a few hours while in a sea of 75,000 other runners, in a foreign country, that you never exchanged addresses with , or for that matter even spoke the same language? The only thing I knew was his first name…Giuseppi

This is Giuseppi

Here's the needle

Here's the haystack

If you read through my race report of the Rome marathon back in March ( which I somehow misplaced), you might remember me talking about these two guys that I met during the marathon. One of them was a young French guy by the name of Merri who was raising money for a charity, and the other , a really colorful Italian character by the name Giuseppi something. The 3 of us kept each other amused and entertained during the toughest part of any marathon ..the last 6 miles. Giuseppi even serenaded us as we walked through Piazza Del Popolo, though I have no idea what he was singing about. After the race Merri and I hung out for a while and exchanged info , but Guiseppi disappeared into the crowd before I had a chance to say goodbye.

Well, a few weeks ago I got to thinking about Guiseppi and how cool it would to reunite with both him and Merri in Rome next year. Armed with only a first name and my computer, I set out to locate this needle in a haystack.

The first thing I had to do was at least get his last name…that part was easy. I knew that since we all crossed the finish line together,that his full name would appear just above mine on the results page of the marathon website. Great, I have his last name now , Guiseppi Finite. Helped a little, but do you know how many Guiseppi Finites there are in Rome? Heck..I don’t even know if he lived in Rome.
Then I remembered that he had a very unique a logo of some running club on his race shirt. So, I went on the web and searched though what seemed like hundreds of Italian running club websites, until I stumbled upon one that had that very same logo .
I wrote a letter to the president of that running club ( in my terrible Italian), explaining that I was trying to locate a lost friend. I figured it was probably a long shot, but I also knew that despite privacy issues, that Italian people tend to be helpful when it comes to matters like this.

Well, my hunch paid off. It turns out that both the running club AND the Rome marathon organizers themselves, had forwarded my emails to Giuseppi and today I received this letter :

Hi Stephen Gaudet begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting I’m Paolo, Giuseppe Finiti’s son.You’ve met him during the Rome marathon 2008.
My father is very happy to meet you another time in Rome 2009. He doesn’t run the next 2009 rome marathon but he’ll be present in that day.He’ll run few kilometers only and then will stop.
He doesn’t understand english very well, so I read and write for him.
You can contact this e-mail to send messages to my father, thank you.
Bye
Giuseppe & Paolo Finiti.

The 3 of us at the finish line.  Giuseppi on the left, then me with the stupid grin, and Merri

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3 Comments

  1. Sus says:

    Oh Wow! How cool is that!
    Such a lovely story, really warms the heart. Gives you a definite reason to work at your conversational Italian as well as put in the miles. And in this day and age when everything is treated with such scepticism, your being honest and genuine has certainly paid off. Good on the Italian running clubs to respect you and forward your emails.
    Buono lavoro!
    Sperare che lei ha un grande giorno
    Sus xx

  2. Joey says:

    That’s so cool ^_^ I hope you have a great time in March meeting up with him again!

    Joeys last blog post..Christmas is coming

  3. Amy says:

    I remember Giuseppe from your post last year! That’s some pretty good detective work, Steve–and in Italian, to boot.

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