On 19 March 2023 I took part in the Rome Marathon 2023. This is my second time running and pacing Rome Marathon after taking part in 2022. Rome Marathon 2022 review. We enjoyed Rome so much as a family last year that we decided to come back, and we maximised the trip with minimal disruption to school, which meant it was a bumper weekend, flying first thing Saturday morning and returning early hours Monday morning. The weather was beautiful, the food was wonderful and the city did not disappoint. Run Rome The Marathon is a fantastic event, set against a magnificent backdrop, with arguably one of the best start lines in the world.
This was my 2nd time running and pacing Rome Marathon. It marked the 120th Marathon Plus distance I have run, and the 100th event I have been an official pacer, of these I have been a pacer at 38 marathons.
Our visit to Rome
Before writing about Run Rome the Marathon, I will first write some highlights of our visit. Rome is a fantastic city to visit with family with so much to see and do. We didn’t go into the colosseum or the roman ruins this year, as we had done so last year. Instead we visited some of our favourite spots including Trevi Fountain for a wonderful Ice-cream.
We have never been to Trevi Fountain at night before, so this was perfect for the first night. We also have a lovely Pizzeria nearby that we managed to find again.
Whilst I ran that marathon my family took part in the 5k fun run. Then they went to visit the Mouth of Truth.
After the marathon we spent a lot of time around the Colosseum, visiting out favourite restaurant and then made our way once again to Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. More Ice-cream, lots of food and drink, to finish off a wonderful weekend.
Rome Marathon Expo
When we arrived on Saturday we headed straight to the expo. Although it is a large expo it is very compact with a narrow one way system making it much longer than it needs to be to get around. I got my bib relatively quickly, but then had to walk all around the expo to get my t-shirt. A tip in Rome, go big on race t-shirt as the are very small.
I had to stay for a few hours at the expo as I had a technical race briefing, which was intense with 175 pacers from around the world. We then made our way to the stage for the presentation of the pacers. The pacers at Rome are a big part of the race experience and it is well organised.
After going for an adventure around Trevi Fountain we made our way back to our hotel to relax and get ready for race day. The marathon for me, and 5k for all of my family. My boy raced by himself, and I’m so proud of him grown up he is. My daughter and wife ran together and enjoyed running in Rome for the first time.
Rome Marathon 2023
It is a very early start for the pacers on race day. We meet at 06:00 near the Colosseum, so that we can get organised with our balloons and ensure we are ready for the 08:00 race start.
With 175 pacers there was a large number from the UK, which is a great representation of the country. It was fantastic to see so many familiar faces from both the UK and all over the world. There are so many fantastic pacers out there and I love seeing more people getting the opportunity to travel the world and taking part in events like this.
In 2022 I ran as a team of 6 for the sub 4:00 group. This year the organisers wanted pacers in 5 minute intervals. This meant more pacers in smaller groups. I was asked to pace 3:55 with Marco and Marco which was an absolute privilege. These are two fantastic pacers from Italy who have a lot of experience pacing and running.
Run Rome the Marathon has one of the best startlines of any Marathon. We line up with the roman ruins to our left and the colosseum behind us. We were in the 3rd wave, so I think most runners wanting our times were ahead, but there were still many runners which started with us and ran with us along the course.
It was a great combination having 2 Italians and 1 English runner, as together we were able to motivate and encourage everyone around us.
We ran with such consistency throughout the race. Rome is a beautiful course but it is very narrow and busy in places. We were 1 minute behind schedule in the first couple of km, which we gradually picked back up over the first 10km. It was crowded and throughout we slowly overtook slower pace groups who had started in the earlier waves. We overtook from 5:00 to 4:00 hours and every time in between in 5 minute intervals. At these times it was busy but we shouted, overtaking on the left and encouraging those on the right in different pace groups.
The 3 of us ran together as a team from start to finish. There were a few times that we got separated slightly because of how busy it was. Marco and Marco were far better at running very close to each other, where I kept giving way to other runners but then struggled to get back next to them.
The course was uneven, with some poor road sections, but it was a good course profile with lots of atmosphere. It is such a lovely event to run and everyone has such a great time. The aid stations were frequent with water, sponges, isotonic drinks and solid food. It was very humid, although it wasn’t too sunny it got hot. Towards the end I was finding it difficult, but I kept the pace and kept encouraging.
We worked so well together as a pace team keeping it very consistent. I led a lot of the early km and we paced the 5km markers always between 0 and 5 seconds under target. Towards the end Marco led and they know these streets far better than me. It is funny, in the last few KM I could notice them starting to pick up the pace as we got closer to the finish, they had that fire of energy for the finish. Reflecting on this, it is exactly how I am as I approach Big Ben in London Marathon. Once I hit the Thames I know the course turn by turn and my energy levels I crease, this is a real benefit of knowing the course that you are pacing.
We finished in an official time of 03:54:33, which I am very happy with. We were on course to finish in around 3:54:50, but the excitement of the finish led to a slightly faster finish time. But we finished holding hands, and had many runners at the finish waiting to see us and thank us. It was a tough day, but a wonderful race, with lots of happy runners at the finish.
The first thing I wanted to do was find my family and find out how they got on. I am so pleased that my boy was brave enough to run alone again, and then wait to cheer on his mum and sister. This is also the first time Kirsty and Amelie have ran this course, or this distance for a long time (well first time for Amelie).
We met for some lovely photos outside of the colosseum before having lots of food and a lot of beer for me, eating at our favourite restaurant.
This was a really successful trip, and a great weekend away. I’m so pleased to have paced my 100th official race, and 120th marathon. I will be resting next weekend, and then April will be extremely busy. In order to help raise money for Cancer Research I will be running 10 marathons in 10 days, beginning on 1 April 2023. If you can donate anything to support I appreciate it.
6 thoughts on “Rome Marathon 2023”
Hi Paul, is the second watch just a backup? Or do you have different things showing on each when pacing?
A bit of both really. I have often used two watches when pacing just as a backup. But it is overkill really. On this occasion my main watch was brand new and this was the first time I wore it, so I wore my old watch as backup.
I always have 4 screens on my watch, elapsed time, total distance, pace and average pace.
Interesting, thanks for the detail.
Yeah on my first screen I have pace, average pace, distance and elapsed time.
On the next I have heart rate and altitude which I used for ultras when pace isn’t as relevant as effort and how much I need to have in the tank for the last climbs.
Makes sense, I know a lot of people who run based on heart rate. Of course when I am pacing the pace is the most important element
Well, Rome this year was brilliant. I briefly chatted to one of your fellow UK pacers (5h 15 if I remember rightly) although the cobbles beat me in the end so instead of my hoped for 5h 30m finish I crossed the line at 6hr 11sec but what a run! Thanks to all of you that pace these events. Leeds next for me in 2 weeks which is going to be a very hilly one and quite emotional as it’s all for Rob Burrow and the MND community.
Sometimes our pace doesn’t got to plan, and we just need to enjoy the moment. I’m glad you enjoyed Rome and good luck in Leeds