It was an interesting time for my first visit to Rome - Francis I and Nations VI provided some distraction from the Maratona in the city on St Patrick's day. In light of the rugby results, I was happy to exploit my French allegiance and joined my colleagues in running with a tricolor painted on my cheek. However, this did not prevent a hint of sunburn on a morning blessed with near perfect running conditions, nor did it enhance my performance. After a reasonable, 1:36, first half I just managed to scrape inside 3:25 at the Collesium finish (3:24:59.956 to be precise!) which was by far my slowest ever (Including the bacchanalian Marathon du Médoc). I suspect other geriatrics may be following Pope Benedict's example because this time was (just) good enough for 1st runner-up in my age category, not a placing I felt I deserved.
Those who have time on their hands may be able to spot a Harriers vest (and a white cap) at
http://mysports.tv/events/RM13/redirect.asp?r=1282 (Videos of the other Harriers running at Rome can be viewed on the video by typing in their race numbers)
In the unlikely event that you watch as far as the accelerated video from the race lead car you may notice a lot of cobbled streets on the course. I found these very hard-going and have certainly upped my respect for all Rome marathoners. The first marathon I ever saw (on black and white TV) was the 1960 Olympic event which was so memorably won by bare-footed African Bikila. Perhaps I now have more understanding of his great achievement.
I returned to my home north of Hadrian's Roman Empire using an EasyJet flight to Amsterdam. A significant proportion of the passengers on this flight had completed the marathon and no air-bridge was provided at either Fiumicino or Schiphol. This was definitely not a case of Easy Boarding for the many who struggled painfully up and down the stairs!
Race Results :