Share on:

Panerai regional chief Giacomo Cinelli on the joy and merit of running

Panerai’s MD for South-east Asia and Oceania unravels the stresses of life one step at a time.

Have you always been a runner?

I used to run only as a warm-up activity before gym workouts but that changed roughly 10 years ago. It was the end of winter in Milan and I woke up early to open the window for some fresh air. Suddenly, in that moment, I realised that everything was calm; there was no traffic noise, which is incredible for a big city like Milan. I could smell spring flowers, and I decided right then that I wanted to go out for a run. I didn’t have a particular target in mind, I just wanted to run around. Since then, I’ve been running in the mornings two to three times a week. Since moving to Singapore in June, I’ve been going to the Botanic Gardens to run.

Do you run with a target now?

No, I just run to clear my head so I’ll do it for about 40 minutes, or 7km, each time. But I have done two marathons in Milan and one in Venice. The one in Venice was magical, because the city itself is like magic. Running all over the city, between canals and through narrow pathways – it was really something. I would like to run a marathon in Singapore next year but I’ll have to train harder, because the weather here is completely different from what I’m used to.

What’s your training like?

Since it’s just a hobby and it’s not like I’m running for the Olympics, I train just two to four months before a marathon. In that time, I cut out alcohol and sweets and make sure I have a good balance of fruit, vegetables, grains and meat with very little fat. I’ve also had the help of a personal trainer. I don’t aim for top placing, so I’m satisfied with my completion time of about 4 hours and 30 to 50 minutes.

(RELATED: The Peak Expert: How to stay on top form while giving your body a brutal running workout)

What goes through your mind while you run?

Ideas and solutions. In contemporary life, everything is fast and accelerated. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that’s happening in one’s personal life and job. But when I run, my mind becomes free. I see things with a clearer perspective. In the end, I realise it’s just how life is, and there’s nothing I can’t solve or improve or adapt to. Some people achieve this with yoga, or reading a book. For me, it’s running.

What is an idea you’ve come up with while running?

It’s always a challenge trying to find new experiences to offer clients, especially when there are so many luxury watch brands around. I needed an idea for a client event this July, and the solution was already there but I couldn’t see it until I was running. My co-workers and I had visited a cave in Malaysia earlier this year as part of a company trip, and it inspired me to host a private Italian dinner in a cave. It was amazing, and our clients were very happy.

What other challenges are you working on right now?

At Panerai, we are always thinking of the future, and of our positioning as a brand that is closely linked to sports, innovation and performance. We are measuring something that is immaterial, so we want to share how watchmaking shows o the excellence of the human mind.

(RELATED: Downtime: Petronille de Parseval on the joys of travel and navigating cultural norms)