Rome 42 km marathon takes place on Sunday 26 March. The mayor, Walter Veltroni, will start the race at 9.00 from the Colosseum and the fastest runners are expected to take between three and four hours to complete the course. There are 12,308 registered participants, including 5,092 foreigners from 73 countries. 10,396 men and 1,912 women are running.

Romes run is considered one of the third fastest on the marathon scale and it may be even faster this year as two kms of cobblestoned streets have been eliminated from the usual circuit which goes as far as the mosque in the north of the city to the church of St Pauls outside the Walls in the south.

The annual fun-run will take place on a 4 km circuit at the same time as the marathon and about 40,000 participants are expected.

Buses around the historic centre have been diverted or cancelled and private traffic will be kept away from the main marathon areas from morning until late afternoon.