3 Apr

Ethiopians Ignore Rain To Conquer Rome Again

action from Rome Marathon

Rain storms made conditions difficult for 15,000 at yesterday's Rome Marathon. Violent thunderstorms and heavy rain struck the Italian capital soon after the start and some complained post-race of slippery cobbled streets. However many runners welcomed the cool conditions after Saturday's heat and made strong showings at the event, which features some of the world's most famous sites.

The Colosseum start/finish, the route along the Tiber and views of St. Peter's Basilica were highlights, and, in an interesting nod to the more recent past, Ethiopia provided the winners of both men's and women's races. Shura Kitata Tola (2:07:30) finished almost two minutes clear of Kenyan pair Dominic Ruto and Benjamin Bitok, while Rahma Tusa (2:27:21) was joined by compatriots Mestawot Tadesse and Abeba Tekulu Gebremeskel on the podium to complete a national sweep.

One of the abiding images of the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome was the remarkable barefoot marathon run from Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila, who captured the hearts of the city with his then world best time of 2:15:16.

After the race, runABC spoke to numerous British runners including Theresa Oldroyd (Harrogate Harriers) and Stevie Bell (Bellahouston Road Runners), who both enjoyed successful runs despite the challenging conditions. Theresa told us that her breakfast plans had been disrupted but that she still had enough fuel in the tank for a negative split while Stevie Bell missed out on his usual porridge. The 65-year-old however clocked an impressive 3:49 and now has a Boston qualifying time that he hopes to activate.

runABC's travel partners Sports Tours International include Rome on their European events itinerary. Watch their website for details of the 2018 trip.