Having chosen to have 2 days off running prior to race day, we were happy to take the 10km round trip to the Firenze Marathon Expo to collect our numbers. We arrived at the venue soon after it opened in order to miss the crowds. Bib collection was the first priority. There were 8 lines for the men and only 2 for the women – a stark indication of the low number of women running in Italy. Less than a third of the registered field! It made it easy for Glenda as she didn’t have to queue. Soon we were visiting the stands, finding out about the latest gear, sampling supplements and receiving information on all the runs planned for 2023.
The only stop we made on the way home was to one of the stands at the Christmas markets to pick up bread for lunch. This was a good thing as it started raining just minutes away from our front door.
After a week of rain, cloud and strong winds, we woke up to a near-perfect clear morning. Ok, it was still relatively cold at 6 degrees and the wind gusts peaking at >30km/hour, but the blue sky and sunshine made up for it. What a fabulous day for a run past all the famous icons of Firenze, the city of art.
Covered from head to toe in the cold gear we’d borrowed from fellow running friends, Monica & Andrea, and encased in the plastic poncho provided by race organisers, we were out the door at 730am for the ½ hour walk to the start line.
Entering the corral for the “green” group, we were sandwiched between beautiful old buildings and lots of people, which kept us warm as we waited 35 minutes for the starting gun. A few minutes before the commencement of the race, we ditched our poncho and long sleeves (donated by Andrea) and readied ourselves for the sound of the gun. We didn’t hear it as we were too far back, but the yelling upfront indicated that the race had begun. We inched forward slowly, avoiding plastic bags and wrappers that had been discarded, and finally, after 4 minutes, we were at the partenza – the starting line.
The first half
The first 21.1km of the race was a dream. Passing through the Cascine, one of our favourite running spots along the river, we enjoyed the sunshine and the atmosphere. We spotted Monica & Andrea just past the 12km mark and that was fun. Monica had even taken a video of us inadvertently whilst just doing some random filming (Video Link). We were tracking at a fabulous pace and everything was easy.
Unfortunately, just before the halfway mark, Glenda’s stomach started playing up, which meant taking in food became a challenge (no detail to be provided). It was a pity, as the refreshment tables were covered in bananas, pastries and muffins ie. in addition to the standard gels, sports drinks and water. There was even warm tea – which would’ve been greatly appreciated had it been wet!
We still managed to tick off the kms and continued to make good time. The 25-35km stretch of the run was a little underwhelming as it was following the housing backing onto the railway line. We did enjoy a short break around the track of the stadium – such a nice surface after the rough cobblestones.
Despite being a little disappointed at having to slow down due to the ongoing stomach issues, we still maintained a reasonable pace. Seeing Monica & Andrea again at the 40km mark gave us a huge boost! Soon we were bounding to the line hand in hand and receiving the much-coveted medal we’d had our eyes on.
This video shows where we ran courtesy of the Relive app
The support of friends
After collecting thermal blankets and a bag of goodies, we exited the finish area to be greeted with huge smiles and hearty congratulations.
Thanks Monica & Andrea for contributing to making our marathon in Firenze special and memorable!!