Report by Martin Doyle (finished with a PB of 3:06:32!)
I arrived in Rome Saturday morning. The city bursting with people and traffic. Checked in to the hotel which was only 3km from the start line to save rushing next morning.
The start and finish area were situated right beside the Colosseum, it all looked very impressive.
The race would start at 8:45.I arrived to start and hour early and it was already pretty full, with the race just split into 3 waves. 8:45 eventually came and I was on my way, I know I didn’t want to go out to quick but the first couple of km were ridiculously packed and against my better judgement I had to zig-zag through the crowd just keep a decent pace.
Around the 4km was a hill heading out of the city, this is where the crowd seemed to space out a little.
At this stage the rain had started,but I don’t think anyone was expecting the downpour that came, with flashes of lightening and thunder we had torrential rain for the first hour. The roads that go from asphalt to cobblestones( lots of cobblestone????)the surface grip was poor with a few falling on turns.
The first half of the marathon is pretty flat, I could keep a decent pace. There was water stations at every 5km and fruit at every 10km.
The second half at about 28k was a long hill heading back towards the city centre, at this stage you could feel it taking some of the energy out of your pace. Then we were back onto the cobblestone, which were now starting to get hard to run on. As we got to the 35-36km mark the crowds started to appear in numbers again with cheers gave you that extra push.Close to 40km I past the Spanish steps and the atmosphere had really picked up, I was nearly finished.
There was one last long pull up through a tunnel towards the finish, this felt like never ending hell, but as I turned out of it there was to my relief a nice downward run to the finish line.
I crossed the finish line feeling happy I had given it everything I’d got.