Full steam ahead for Rome marathon

The 19th Rome Marathon takes place on Sunday 17 March at 09.30, leaving from Via Dei Fori Imperiali and finishing in the same place. There is no longer need to postpone the start to the afternoon as might have been the case if it had coincided with the inaugural Mass for the new pope.

However the route will be slightly different to avoid the area of St Peter’s and facilitate the crowds expected at the first Angelus of Pope Francis at midday. 

The marathon will pass through Piazza Venezia, double back to Testaccio, along parts of Lungotevere embankments into Prati out to Acqua Acetosa before heading back again across the historic centre and the Colosseum.

The unpopular Tor di Quinto and Tangenziale sections were dropped last year in favour of Prati and the Olympic Village.

The 2012 edition of the popular 42-km marathon has attracted 14,000 subscribers: some 8,000 Italians and over 6,000 foreigners from 81 countries. However this represents a decrease from last year when more than 16,000 runners took part in the race.

Among the athletes is Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este, who is in town for the inaugural papal Mass. A seasoned runner but retiring individual, the prince is said to have wished to avoid any "special treatment" and signed up to the event like everybody else.

In addition to the main race there is the non-competitive "Stracittadina" 5-km fun run.

For full details see marathon website