On March 18 2012, when Rome Marathon took place, a over 12,000 runners finished the race with Kenyan Luka Lokobe Kanda crossing the finish line first clocking in at 2:08:04.
In 2010, winner Siraj Gena of Ethiopia finished the race barefoot to honour his countryman Abebe Bikila who won the Olympic marathon in Rome exactly 50 years earlier.
As a participant in the Rome Marathon, you get to drink in the city’s historic atmosphere right from the beginning. The start line is placed in front of the 2,000-year-old Coliseum, and from here the course is a veritable festival of magnificent sights. Among other things, you will run past Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and through a lot of picturesque, narrow streets in the old part of the city. So, remember your camera but leave your PB aspirations at home – you need time to appreciate all the breathtaking landmarks and to conquer the cobblestones, that cover about half the route. The course is surprisingly flat for a city built on seven hills, but the sometimes uneven cobblestone streets, which in the narrowest places can feel quite crowded, may add a few extra minutes to your finish time.
Throughout the years, Rome Marathon has made good use of its unique status as the capital of the Catholic Church. For example, the turn of the millenium was celebrated by moving the start area to Saint Peter’s Square and having the Pope himself wish all the runners good luck before the run. And even though the start line is now back in the gladiatorial ambience of the Coliseum, word has it that priests and cardinals are among the cheering crowds when the runners pass Saint Peter’s Church. And if you need more than spiritual nourishment for finishing a marathon, just arrive a day or two early and feast on the many temptations in a city where it is almost impossible not to carb load.
And the best news is that you – or maybe your less marathon-passionate travel partner – don’t have to cover 42km of narrow, Roman streets to experience the special atmosphere on marathon day. According to tradition, 15 minutes after the marathoners are sent on their way, 85,000 children, adults and seniors head out for the non-competitive Stracittadina Fun Run. The 4km course shares its start line at the Coliseum with the marathon and cruises around the ancient city’s streets before finishing outside of Domus Aurea – the ruins of emperor Nero’s Golden House.
For more info and registration please visit the Rome Marathon official website here.