From the early of the '900 to date in the streets and squares of the Eternal City have ventured some of the myths of running of all time. Dorando Pietri, that on 2 April 1906 triumphed at the finish line of marathon in Villa Borghese. Abebe Bikila, who barefoot won under the Arch of Constantine the Olympic marathon in 1960. Another legend is the Kenyan-Japanese Douglas Wakiihuri, who September 6, 1987 won the World Championship marathon in Rome.
1995 March 12,1995. The Maratona di Roma picks up where it left off taking on a new appearance at the hands of a completely different organizational staff. It seems that the victory is likely to go the Ethiopian, Turbo, who continued at great speeds even far beyond the half-marathon point. The final time was clocked in at 2:6.00. But then, from Caracalla Stadium onward, the fated crisis, with the victory going to his co-national, Tadesse, ready to take the baton as he triumphs ahead of the Tanzanian, Ikaji and another Ethiopian, Jillo. In the women’s field two Eastern European athletes dominate, with first place going to the Russian, Elena Sipatova, and second to the Ukraine, Sklyarenko.
1996 The following year, March 24, 1996, Ethiopia once again wins singlehandedly in the streets of Rome. Is this the spirit that Abebe Bikila intended for his Ethiopian athletes coming to Rome? Not exactly, but just as the soldier from the National Guard triumphed in Rome during the 1960 Olympics, the 23-year old soldier Moges Taye wins the men’s category, while his female co-national, Fatuma Roba, also a soldier, leaves behind our own Ornella Ferrara after the 21st kilometre, winning the race.
1997 And just for a change, it is once again the country of the great Abebe that gives the eternal city its third marathon winner in 1997. Dube Jillo (third place in 1995), who at the 30th kilometre breaks from the
pack that included his co-national Moges Taye, who never gives the impression of thinking negatively about his rival. Among the women it was the Estonian Jane Salumae, confirming her dominance over the ex Soviet Union athletes.
1998 We now come to the fourth edition, a triumphant day for the Italian flag, establishing victories in both the men’s and women’s category. Stefano Baldini, a young Italian hopeful, sets the record for the Roman Marathon, winning in 2:9.33. He is able to defeat the usual competition from the Africans with a racing tactic that keeps him hidden up until the 35th kilometre, allowing him to resist the attacks of his
adversaries. Among the women, the victory is even more extraordinary because the athlete is one of our own. Franca Fiacconi, from Rome, who in November of the same year would go on to win the Marathon of New York.
In 1999 the victory shines yet again upon an African athlete, Philip Tanui, brother to the famous Kenyan, Moses. He arrives in Rome swearing that he is a novice but this, in fact, is not true at all, because the
young athlete had already run in Italy’s Turin Marathon back in 1995. He himself wins the race even denying running with as pacemaker. Maura Viceconte is the winner of the female competition, after having broken away from the usual Estonian, Salumae, at the 21st kilometre mark. The women’s victory in the Maratona di Roma remains all-italian.
The 2000 edition is truly a special one. First, because it is the Jubilee year and the entire city, as well as the entire country, is concentrating all its efforts on this event. Second, because the race takes place on 1 January. Last, yet the most fascinating and emotionally charged aspect is that His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, will give his well wishes before the start of the race in St. Peter’s Square. On a technical note, it should be stated that the 2000 marathon has faith in the aforementioned for the quality of its winners: Kenyans Josephat Kiprono, among the men, and the very strong Tegla Lorupe, among the women. Italy does its part, no less, with a second place finish by Giacomo Leone and third by Francesco Ingargiola.
In 2001 it is once again our own athletes who make this race quite a show, running among some of the most beautiful and most famous monuments in the world. Highlights included the women’s race, won by Maria Guida, who had just returned from an injury. Among the men, Ottavio Andriani does everything he can to reach the finish line first but Henry Cherono’s stride, just moments before the finish, allow the Kenyan to claim himself the winner with a two-second advantage over the Italian. Taking third is another Italian, Alberico Di Cecco.
We are now in 2002. The surprise is once again among the women. This time it is Maria Cocchetti, a 36 years old Italian from Bergamo, who wasn’t even supposed to run in Rome this year, given her precarious shape at the time. It wasn’t an easy victory: a good 30” separated her from the second-place finisher, acclaimed Ethiopian, Gabisse Edato. In the men’s race it was once again the African flag that reigned on the winner’s stand: Vincent Kipsos from Kenya, Steven Matebo, again from Kenya and MogesTaye from Ethiopia, in order of placings.
2003 Once again, Italy reigns high in the women’s category with the victory going to the beautiful and friendly Tuscan athlete, Gloria Marconi, running in her marathon debut. In the men’s field, Cherono stands out again as the winner and it will be Frederick, another Kenyan, who will arrive second just ahead of our terrific athlete, Alberico Di Cecco, who in the last kilometres searches for the almost impossible recovery.
2004 The X edition of the Maratona di Roma registered over 9,100 entries, establishing a new Italian record for the number of partecipants in a marathon.It was the year of the Italian women, with an all-Italian winner’s podium starting with Ornella Ferrara, winner in a time of 2:27.49, her new personal best, in front of Bruna Genovese and Rosalba Console. All three were then selected for the Athens Olympics. The men’s race also saw Italians dominate, with the victory by Ruggero Pertile in a time of 2:10.12, in front of Migidio Bourifa. 2004 was also the year for the disabled athletes who enriched the Roman race with champions coming from around Europe. The fastest, were italians Roland Ruepp and Daniela Rota.
The XI 2005’s edition exceeded 10,200 entries, establishing yet again an Italian record for number of participants in a marathon. This was Alberico Di Cecco’s comeback year and mainly the record edition for the fastest time. The Italian, with 2:08.02, sealed the best Italian performance of the year for this distance and one of the best performances in the world. In the women’s field, the uncontested win by Russian Skvortsova, who finished with a good time of 2:28.01. Among the always more numerous disabled athletes at the start are winners: handbikers Dutchman, Bruijn, and Frenchman, Saladin; paraplegic Italian, Porru, and paraolympian, Porcellato and paraolympic and tetraplegic De Vidi.
2006 12,000 show up at the start line and for the first time in the history of the marathon in Italy, 10,000 athletes finish the race, almost half of which from 72 different nations. After two years of Italian victories, Africa returns to reign the streets of Rome with a victory by Kenyan, Mandango Kipkorir (2:08.38). Right behind him, however, is Italian Daniele Caimmi, having returned officially to the marathon scene following the Athens Olympics in 2004. Instead, among the women, the Eastern winds prevail with a victory by Tetyana Hladyr, who in 2:25.44 sets the all-time course record for the Maratona di Roma.
2007 The Maratona di Roma definitely confirmed its reputation as one of the greatest marathons in the world in 2007, when 13,624 athletes were present at the start line and 11.895 of them cut the finish line (11.946 including disabled). Three great performances contributed to the Marathon’s success: the Italian athlete Andrea Cionna set the new world record in the category of blind runners (2:31.59), the first world record ever set on the Maratona di Roma route; Algerian athlete Souad Ait Salem finished the Marathon in 2:25.08 the best performance on the Rome’s route; Migidio Bourifa’s ran the marathon in 2:10.30 (best performance in Italy in 2007) and was therefore elected Italian Champion.
2008 The Russian Galina Bogomolova won the XIV edition of the Maratona di Roma Trofeo AceaElectrabel in 2:22.53, setting a new astonishing Italian all-comers' record, breaking Margaret Okayo's 2:24.59 by more than two minutes. Among the men Jonathan Yego Kiptoo prevailed with a victory and ran in 2:09.58. He beat Philip Kimutai Sanga (2:10.02) with a lust rush. At the XIV Maratona di Roma Trofeo AceaElectrabel both records in the handbikes race have been modified thanks to Bruijn Roel (1:18.12) and Monique Van der Vorst (1:19.40). There were 65,000 participants at the Roma Fun Run, the 4 km non-competitive race.
2009 Rome becomes the fastest marathon in Italy. Benjamin Kiptoo Koulum from Kenya, initially signed up as a pace-setter, pushes hard, gets out of the pack, doesn't stop, and crosses the finish line with a superb 2:07.17. Italian all comers' record. Kenya rules: Kiptoo +10 (compatriots) in the first 11 places. The women race is won by Firehiwot Dado in 2:27.08. More than 92,000 people at the start, also considering the Fun Run (approximately 80,000): a European record of participation.
2010 Barefoot, 50 years later. Just like Bikila through the Constantine's Arch at the Olympic Marathon 1960, Ethiopian runner Siraj Gena wins the Rome Marathon 2010 with no shoes having taken them off 300 hundred metres before the finish. He clocks 2:08.39. Fully Ethiopian the women's podium, with Firehiwot Dado Tufa triumphing for the second year in a row (2:25.58). Around 100,000 runners in the two events (marathon and 4k): what a way to celebrate Bikila's 50th anniversary!
It's the first IAAF Gold labelled Rome Marathon - another record edition, with 12,657 finishers representing 84 countries. After Gena in 2010, now it's Firehiwot Dado's turn to take the shoes off and win the women's race barefoot (2:24.13), in a celebration of her fellow countryman Abebe Bikila. The men's race goes to Dickson Chumba Kiptolo (2:08.45).
Double kenyan victory in the 18th Rome Marathon. 24 year old Kenyan Luka Lokobe Kanda wins in 2:08.04, with the 34-year old Hellen Kimutai crossing the finish line in 2:31.11 winning the women's race. Kanda surged from the pack at the 30 km mark, and finished with the 3rd best time ever run in Rome. Almost no competition in the handbikers race: Alex Zanardi triumphes in 1.11.46 shaving more than 4 minutes from his own previous racecourse record (1:15.53, 2010).
Ethiopian 30-year-old Getachew Terfa Negari wins the male race at the 19th Acea Maratona di Roma in 2:07:56, second best time for the eternal city race, beating the compatriot Girmay Birhanu Gebru, wich ran in 2:08:11.
In the female competition, the best was the kenyan 36-year-old Helena KIROP in 2:24:40.
Ethiopian athlete Kassa Getnet Selomie was second in 2:25:15. The paralympic champion Alex Zanardi has won the handbike race at the 19th Maratona di Roma. After 1:12:15 the ex Formule 1 driver crossed the finish line. This is already his third victory on the streets of the Eternal city - in 2012 he even established the race record with a race time of 1:11:46. Mauro Cratassa and Saverio di Bari from Italy followed him on the third and second rank.
The 20th Maratona di Roma set a new all-time record in any Italian sport event with 14,875 finishers (and 36 handbikers). In windy and rainy conditions, Ethiopia's 27-year-old Legese Shume Hailu won the men's race in 2:09:47. After a very fast start, Geda Ayelu Lemma dominated the women's competition. Although she got tired in the end, she passed the finish line in first place with a time of 2:34:49. The Italian paraolympic athlete Alex Zanardi dominated the handbikers' competition at the 20th Acea Maratona di Roma (1:12:36). With this result the former Formula1 driver even set the absolute record of four victories in the Roman competition.
In windy and rainy conditions, Ethiopia's 30-years-old Abebe Negewo Degefa won the 21th Acea Maratona di Roma, with a time of 2:12:23. Meseret Kitata Tolwak, 20-years-old, took the honours in the women's race (2:30:25). Ethiopia took first and second placing among the women as well. Alem Fikre Kifle crossed the finish line with a time of 2:31:01, after running shoulder-to-shoulder with Tolwak until 37km. Italy's athletes took the third place in both the men's and women's races, with Jamel Chatbi (2:14:04) and Deborah Toniolo (2:36:30). The last time of a double podium for Italy in Maratona di Roma was in 2005. 11,516 runners finished the marathon and about 50,000 ran the non-competitive 5km RunFun.