Skip to main content

Giorgio Calcaterra will start with bib no. 1

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, the 2015 world champion and New York Marathon winner, will also run.

Andrea Giocondi: “Our participants, a cast of exceptional athletes considering the times we live in, will run to break the record.”

ROME – It is the week of the Acea Run Rome The Marathon. Due to the Covid situation, Rome’s marathon was postponed for a year and a half – from March 2020 to this September, when the Alba Race Special Edition will kick things off. Departure at dawn, right at 6.45 am. This is a first-ever for the Capitoline event, as well as an oddity among the most important marathons in the world. On the  schedule – next to the marathon – we will also have the Acea Run4Rome solidarity relay at 7.30 and for two days, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19, the Stracittadina Fun Race 5k will be run in Rome and throughout Italy, open to anyone and anywhere.

Acea Run Rome The Marathon. For one day and for the 26th time no less, Rome will become the world capital of running. Thousands of athletes and many top professional runners will be at the starting line, all eager to run their hearts out to make history in such a prestigious race. 

Many top-level African athletes have been summoned by Andrea Giocondi, technical manager of the top runners, who briefly explains the situation: “It was not easy to put together such a high-level cast of athletes at this time. The Olympics ended barely 40 days ago, and six major marathons – and dozens of other events around the world –  are scheduled over the next 50 days. However, managers and athletes hold Rome’s marathon in high esteem and, therefore, I am sure we will once again have a spectacular and hard-fought race.”

RECORD – The men’s race record belongs to the Kenyan Benjamin Kiptoo Kolum who stopped the clock in 2009 at 2h07’18”; the women’s record goes to the Ethiopian Kebede Megertu Alemu, who crossed the finish line at 2h22 52″ in the 2019 edition. “The athletes we called want to run very fast; the Eritrean Ghirmay Ghebreslassie declared his wish to beat the race record; if nothing else, he asked the pacesetter to hit the mid-race mark at around 1h03,” Giocondi himself said.

WINNING NATIONS – In the men’s roll of honour there are seven Ethiopian winners, thirteen  Kenyan winners, and three Italian winners, namely, Stefano Baldini, Ruggero Pertile and Alberico Di Cecco. As for women, winners flew the flags of Russia, Estonia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Algeria. Italy has also a major presence here thanks to the victories of Franca Fiacconi, Maura Viceconte, Maria Guida, Maria Cocchetti, Gloria Marconi, and Ornella Ferrara.

MEN – Bib number 1, as said, goes to Giorgio Calcaterra. This is an honorary degree of sorts for the indomitable Roman ultramarathon runner, who made his debut over twenty years ago in his city’s marathon. He has run Rome dozens of times and, on yet again on Sunday, he will be at the starting line to celebrate his 250th marathon. Despite his advancing age, Giorgio ran a 100km race in Winschoten on Saturday in 7h42’26 ”.

Among the men, a solid group of about twenty athletes, we find six Ethiopians, seven Kenyans, a Tanzanian, an Eritrean, three Moroccans, and a Canadian. Overall , about ten of them have a personal best under 2h10 ‘, which attests to the race quality. 

Taking personal best as a reference, the Ethiopian Birhanu Girma Bekele, who finished 3rd  in the 2019 Seville event with 2h06’41”, seems to have the strongest credentials. He loves to compete in Italy: he won the Firenze marathon in 2011 and finished second in 2012. The return of Werkunesh Abone Seyoum, also Ethiopian, fifth classified at the 2017 Rome marathon with 2h09’25 “, is great news but, having said that, we must keep a close eye on Eritrean Ghirmay Ghebreslassie. His accomplishments speaks for themselves, and his class is unrivalled: winner of the 2016 New York Marathon, World Marathon Champion in Beijing in 2015, fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Last but not least, he finished tenth in the magical Ampugnano marathon – an absolute world level event held in April – with 2h07’11”, his personal best.

Among the Italians, next to Calcaterra, there will be Michele Palamini (GA Vertovese) with a personal best of 2h17’03”, a time he set at the Reggio Emilia Marathon in December 2013. For Palamini, it will be a special day as September 19th is also his 30th birthday.

WOMEN – The women’s race, with ten athletes divided equally between Kenya and Ethiopia is also world-class – and yet another round of the eternal challenge between the two strongest marathon nations in the world. Among women, the name of the Ethiopian Tinbit Weldegebril stands out. She run her best marathon in Valencia in 2018, where she stopped the clock at 2h23’37” and finished third overall. The challenge here could come from the Kenyan Winfridah Moraa Moseti, ninth at the Milan Marathon in May with 2h27’44”.