Bologna Half Marathon
Sunday 15th September 2013
Exhausted from a week up and down the steep Dolomites, two brave C&C-ers decided to go to Bologna to stretch their legs in a flat (or at least this is how it looked to us compared to the Dolomites) race: the Bologna half marathon, a wonderful race and a truly PB course.
The completely car-free course developed almost entirely inside the old walls of town in a fairly flat succession of asphalt and tile/stone sections (fortunately only a few of the latter, although the one at km 19 was a killer) and went through seven of the twelve city gates of Bologna and 12 squares,
thus giving a great opportunity to admire this beautiful city in a unique atmosphere. All the way we enjoyed lively support from spectators (I felt quite special) and music from (17!) bands (which mostly eased our effort with great songs but also, in one occasion, made us run (away) more quickly than planned!).
This fantastic atmosphere produced a great 1:24:55 for David Barber, which took 2 minutes off his previous PB and also won a rucksack full of goods (as he arrived within the first 100) and in a 1:45:22 for myself, a 7 minutes PB, probably due to the excitement of being back in my university town where I had an amazing time. Not from a C&C member but equally important to mention is the 2:03:47 performance from the 74-year-old Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister and President of the European Commission, which I had the opportunity to greet.
Pre and post race facilities were all located in the beautiful palazzo comunale at 50 meters from the start and finish. Everything went quite smoothly, we arrived just one hour before the race by train and had plenty of time.
After the race, the main streets remained closed to traffic for a while and many shops were open, so that we could enjoy the city much more than in a normal day (no need to worry about having to go around the city sweaty as the organizers provided changing and shower facilities!).
Any negative point? Oh yes, the online subscription was unbelievably messy and unclear and we needed to provide a health certificate! Hopefully they will improve on that.