04 April 2014, 7am
Giulietta & Romeo Half Marathon
Sun 16 February 2014
This year’s 5th edition attracted record participation in the half marathon and ‘Duo’ Half Marathon, a non-competitive relay run with stages of 8km and 13km. More than 500 couples lined up at the start – 1000 of the 8200 people who entered. This makes it the second largest half marathon in Italy, after the Rome-Ostia race (held two weeks earlier) and the fifth largest race overall.
Runners from all over Italy and from all over the world come to experience the pleasure of running the final kilometre of the race, crossing through the Arena to finish in the beautiful Piazza Bra.
Colour, music and excitement abound at the 10:00 start at Bentegodi Stadium sports hall, where the race Expo is held on the Saturday. The top women runners set off five minutes before the rest of the field to make the women’s race more visible and to highlight their performances. This sets up an exciting moment halfway through the race when the fastest men overtake them.
There was also a record number of finishers – 6354, of which a very high percentage were women. Verona is a very romantic city – William Shakespeare is the best press officer a race could hope for, and many events are organised by the municipality to to enhance the ‘Verona In Love’ Valentine’s Day theme.
Next year’s race will be on Sunday 15 February, with Valentine’s Day falling on the Saturday and organisers are already thinking about what kind of romantic offering they can provide for those couples participating in the race.
This year the Romeo & Juliet theme inspired two young lovers to make a declaration of love to their girlfriends through the public address system at the finish line. On bended knee the girls were asked to marry them and were given a ring. Things became quite emotional – even tearful – with thousands of people in the audience in Piazza Bra listening in silence before bursting into applause.
The course is fast and spectacular, lying entirely within the beautiful town of Verona. Kenyan William Kibor’s victory in 1:00:51 established a new course record. Valeria Straneo, world silver medallist in Moscow last year, took the women’s title. The race also incorporated the Italian championships for the half marathon. Daniele Meucci won the men’s and Straneo the women’s – after disposing of the challenge from Anna Incerti, European Marathon champion, who returned from maternity leave only nine months ago.
Verona has a long tradition of road running, and several other standout races. On 5 October the 13th edition of Veronamarathon will start from the Valpolicella region, well-known all over the world for the quality of its wines. It finishes in the Piazza delle Erbe, the oldest square in the city and the historical, political and economic centre for many centuries. Thousands of runners will race in the green peaceful landscape of Valpolicella before entering the city, arriving beside the Arena and then rushing the finish line. The Can Grande Half Marathon has the same start and finish as the marathon, and there is also a 10km event run throughout the old town.
Everyone can run in Verona – not just star-crossed lovers.