Monday, 17 March 2008

Rome City Marathon 2008

It is estimated that 75,000 people lined the streets of Rome on March 16th to cheer on the athletes running the 14th edition of the Rome City Marathon. Over 11,100 athletes from 76 nations participated, among which 10,511 runners crossed the finish line.

Running the Rome City Marathon is a great way to see the city on foot. The 42,195 km course starts and ends at the Colosseum, passing by the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, Campidoglio, Circus Maximus, Piazza Navona, the San Paolo Basilica, Via del Corso, Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps. It passes through several Roman neighbourhoods, giving runners and spectators the opportunity to see much of the city and areas they might not otherwise see while visiting Rome.

Having run the Rome City Marathon twice, I can attest to the fact that it is not an easy course, but it is a great experience nonetheless. Cobblestones, hills and quick turns make it difficult to maintain a solid rhythm and place added strain on your muscles. This is not the course to establish your personal best time. That said, if you are a marathoner or aspire to be one, I highly recommend putting Rome on your marathon wish list.

This year’s marathon was ideal weather-wise. The weather in Rome in March is normally quiet pleasant, not too hot with a fresh breeze coming in off the cool sea, although it can sometimes feel hot when you are a running a marathon on a sunny day. Fortunately, this year, the sky was partially cloudy, giving the runners relief from rays of the hot Roman sun.

The first place athlete, Jonathan Yego Kiptoo from Kenya (photo on the right), finished in 2:09:57, while the first female, Galina Bogomolova from Russia, finished the race in 2:22:53, establishing a new course record in the female category. Bogomolova was awarded a bonus of €75,000 for beating the previous Italian female record of 2:23:47.

The first Italian, a Roman taxi driver named Giorgio Calcaterra (photo on the left), finished the marathon in 2:18:40. Calcaterra has run over 100 marathons and is somewhat of a legend in Italy because of his extreme passion for the sport of running. Runners from my team tell me that he once ran back to back marathons, one on Saturday and one the next day, both in less than 2 hours and thirty minutes. He is the current Italian champion of the 100 km.

This year’s marathon was a great success. I look forward to participating next year in the 15th edition of the Rome City Marathon, to be held on March 22nd.

For further information on the Rome City Marathon, including results, registration details and photos, visit

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