Courtesy of our friends at New Balance I had the opportunity to run the Rome Marathon this year. The event has a proper big city marathon feel with about 15,000 entrants (and around 50,000 taking part in the 5K fun run on the same day). This was the 21st edition of the event. I hadn't been to Rome before, so it was a great opportunity to see some of the sights of the historic city. We were lucky to be staying in a nice hotel in the old part of the city, which was only about a 15 minute walk away from the start and finish area, which was very convenient.
The race starts with a backdrop of the iconic Colosseum with a group of Roman soldiers to see you off and does a figure of eight around the living history of the city. It is a reasonably flat course but has quite a few twists and turns and numerous sections of unforgiving cobbled streets. Although the temperature was good for marathon running, we were unfortunate in that it was wet and windy for most of the event, which made the cobbles very slippery. My glasses steamed up a bit so I seemed to spend more time looking where I was putting my feet than looking at the sights. Some of the Italians seem to run how they drive, so I had to keep my wits about me! Considering the conditions, the event was very well supported, with plenty of crowds and music playing around most of the course. I even got a cheer from a couple of Brits who spotted my Datchet Dashers running vest.
Ethiopia's Abebe Negewo Degefa won the men's race, with a time of 2:12:23 (about 5 minutes off the course record because of the conditions),with Meseret Kitata Tolwak winning the women's race in 2:30:25. Considering the conditions and that I hadn't had much notice that I was going to be taking part, I was happy enough with my time of 3:50. Rather typically, the rain stopped after the race and the sun came out, so after a shower and some food,we took a stroll up the river to see the Vatican. The great thing about Rome is that most of the sights are within easy walking distance of each other (and ideal as a post-race warm-down walk). I would definitely recommend it for a long weekend (with or without marathon).