Rome – the eternal city, birthplace of civilisation and gelato! And what better way to see 26 miles of this ancient capital than by running a marathon around it?
The 2014 Rome Marathon starts at 9am on Sunday 23 March. The race starts at the Via dei Fori Imperiali right next to the mighty Coliseum. From there you will run past iconic landmarks like the Piazza di Spagna, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Saint Peter's Basilica. The route is circular and takes you back to the Coliseum, and for those hoping for a Personal Best (PB), then this could be your race as the course is pretty flat. The Radisson Blue es. Hotel, Rome is a 20-minute walk to the Coliseum – the perfect distance to warm up before you run.
The Rome Marathon has no time qualifying standard and allows a generous 8 hours for runners to complete the course. Maybe this is in recognition of the fact that many runners just can't help stopping to photograph the amazing sights and often give up on the idea of a PB altogether. Your entry fee includes a race t-shirt, finisher's medal (unless you have been side-tracked altogether) and hydration.
Let's face it, though - if you are going to be spending even just a day either side of your race in this beautiful, historic city full of gastronomic delights, then you're going to have to plan some treats to reward all your hard work and training.
To help you we've asked some foodie/sports bloggers who know the city to share their top tips for the Rome Marathon:
- Save the sightseeing for after the race.
Laura Walker from A Wandering Sole says, "Rome is such a beautiful city, that it is easy to get distracted by all of the sights. Avoid sightseeing before the race so that everything you see will be new and exciting."
Nadia Ruiz from Nadia the Runner also recommends getting there a few days before the race to adjust to any time or temperature differences. And she warns about too much pre-race sightseeing in case of tired legs.
- Watch out for the cobblestones
When it comes to the Rome Marathon's circuit, Nadia also says, "The only concern was the cobblestones along the course. Also, European marathons tend to have water/aid stations every 5K. In the US it's customary for large marathons to have it every mile."
So watch your footing or sightseeing might be out altogether!
- Don't leave Rome without trying some of the amazing food
For a celebratory dinner, Why Rome recommends Fish Market seafood restaurant : "They have a great happy hour (apperitivo), and you can enjoy it overlooking the river. Or for a great breakfast or brunch treat the next day, go to Coromandel (not far from Piazza Navona)".
- Just enjoy it!
This is our biggest top tip of all. A trip to Rome is a wonderful thing, even without the added thrill of completing a marathon. Take a moment to look around you at the many landmarks dating back thousands of years. Rome is definitely the most romantic marathon (if you can think of a marathon that way!), and taking part will be a memorable event you are sure to remember for the rest of your life.
Which is your favourite marathon city?