Sooo I ran another marathon – SURPRISE! 😀 I managed to accidentally book it for the weekend of our 7th anniversary, too. (Ooopsie).
Happy anniversary to us!
Romantic, me? Always! 😉
Luckily, the whole trip was eeepic, and we both loved Rome. So I think James will forgive me 😉
We seriously lucked out with our hotel location. A 15-minute walk brought us right to the Colosseum, where we followed the sea of blue backpacks around the side to the start area. (The mandatory drop bag rucksack was SUCH a brilliant idea!)
I dropped my rucksack at the luggage lorry, gave James a hug and headed off to the start area. Despite my estimated 5-hour finish, the organisers had put me in Wave 1 (with the super speedy 3:00, 3:15 and 3:30 pace groups). In my dreams, mate! Luckily, faster runners are allowed to move back to the later waves, so I snuck into the slowest corral as planned.
The first few miles were pretty crowded, and there were quite a few faster runners passing on both sides (often with a warning pat on the shoulder, which was a new experience for me!) The route took us past loads of Rome’s monuments, and it was hard to absorb everything – the cheering crowds, the sea of runners, the gorgeous views… It all became a bit of a blur at times! And it definitely felt like there were a lot more than 13k runners.
We were told to expect 7km of cobbles, which I was initially a bit concerned about – but it turns out that the cobbles in Rome are fairly smooth and flat, and once the crowds thinned out a little it was easy enough to avoid the bumpy bits. I imagine things could get quite slippery in the rain, but we were lucky enough to have glorious sunshine for the whole day!
You can’t help but smile during Rome Marathon!
Within a few miles it had started to get quite warm, but there was plenty of shade under the trees along the course (who knew Rome was so green!?) and sponge stations had been set up at 5km intervals from about 7.5km. This was the first race where I actually used the sponges, and oh my days, I’ve been missing a trick – they were heaven! (It was also quite surreal to see a sea of multi-coloured sponges lying on the road afterwards)!
When in Rome… on your anniversary… and your girlfriend has abandoned you to run a marathon… 😉
I started to flag quite early on. To be fair, having run a PB at Barcelona just 4 weeks before, and slacking on my training in between the 2, it wasn’t hugely surprising. I had started to take walking breaks from about 9/10 miles (a few miles earlier than Barcelona) and by about 16 miles the arch of my foot had started to hurt quite badly.
Luckily, the route was fairly flat and the crowds and the sights took my mind off it for the most part. And to make it even better, I got chatting to a lovely lady called Karen just after the 20m mark, who stuck with me to the finish! This made SUCH a difference psychologically, and really kept me going. She’s going to be running 10 marathons in 10 days next month for her local charity – what an inspiration!
Eyes firmly on the finish line!
We walked quite a bit over the last 10km, but when we hit 25 miles we got ourselves properly running again – and pushed all the way to the finish!
I think that’s the first time that I’ve ever run the whole of mile 26 in a marathon. If you’re reading, THANK YOU Karen, you lovely lady! And good luck for next month!
SURPRISE ROMAN GLADIATOR AMBUSH!
Rome Marathon is also the first time I’ve ever walked through the finish line arch and into a barricade for a photo! All the LOLs. It was a brilliant touch, though – and the best marathon finish photo I’ve had so far! 😀 Yay, Rome!
I also got interviewed by the commentator (another first), so there’s that. Having a microphone pointed at you seconds after finishing a 26.2 mile run is… an experience!? I don’t remember quite how I responded to their ‘Oooh, English! Did you just travel to Rome for the marathon!? Where are you from!?’ But I think I probably spoke in full sentences? Maybe?… 😉
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Have you ever run Rome, or is it on your bucket list? I think this is the first race I’ve been tempted to enter again! One day… 😉