I was lucky enough to go over to Italy to take part in Rome Race for the Cure, an International event by Susan G. Komen Italia. Having previously been an intern and volunteered at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, it was amazing to see a replica of the event in a different country. The event begins with a three-day build up starting from the Thursday with many events taking place in Circo Massimo. I attended a nutritionist speech on the Thursday afternoon where a nutritionist we work with was speaking to the audience about the benefits of California prune in sports and exercise. In case that you’re interested (and no, it’s not all what your Grandma told you), some of their benefits are as follows:
- are fat-free, salt free and contain no added sugar
- high in vitamin K – good for our bones
- high in potassium and contain manganese meaning that they help our muscles work properly
- contain carbohydrate
In addition, the race village hosted outdoor yoga sessions and spin cycling amongst other activities. I received my race pack on Thursday – an event t-shirt, some leaflets from the sponsors, Carefree wipes and something that I haven’t worked out yet!
The race village was huge though only covered around a quarter of the Circo Massimo with the landmark an even larger area. It really was a beautiful area for such an incredible event that was going to take place. Last year, the Rome event alone attracted 65,000 participants and that number was scheduled to be even bigger in 2018.
Based on Roma Pineto parkrun the day before, I anticipated it to be a warm one! Grabbing a croissant and water on the way to the race village and start area, the city was crowded with people in the same t-shirts about to start the race all for one reason.
The competitive wave went first, this category was based on the information I’d found out the day before at parkrun. The next wave – Donna in Rosa or, the Women in Pink. These ladies have all suffered with cancer on one way or another and the wave is there to remember what they have been through. Finally, the non-competitive – the wave our team were in started to leave he start line at 10am. I’m not sure on the exact time we went through the start line, but the atmosphere was buzzing. So many runners, joggers and walkers – probably the most I’ve ever seen in one place at one time!
The route began with a minor uphill to reach Piazza Venezia, one of my favourite buildings in Rome. We slowed to take some pictures and as we ran around the corner the Colosseum stood in the distance. I was most looking forward to this part – what an opportunity, running around Rome and its famous sights on closed roads! We headed further towards the Colosseum and hit the 2k mark, where we stopped to take a few pictures. The route took us all around the outside of the Colosseum which didn’t disappoint! After the Colosseum we saw the finish line, the route would take us out a little then up a hill back down to the start line so we saw people reaching the finish line as we had 1/2 km to go. The final hill was hard but being 5k, and taking it steady, I wasn’t too out of breath as I got to the top. Once at the top it was all downhill! After the pleasant downhill the finish line was in sight, we took a few more photos as we got closer and cheered as we crossed.
With the temperature hitting 25 degrees it’s probably the hottest weather I’ve ever ran in though with the amount of people and wanting to soak up all the beautiful surroundings it was a very steady pace.
After we crossed, we took the finish funnel which led us back to Circo Massimo. From here, we were able to pick up a bottle of water – a choice of still or sparkling – and a packet of California prune samples, which were much appreciated!
Most participants congregated in the race village following the event and this was my favourite part of the whole event. The women in pink had their own stage area cornered off and were all handed pink balloon. After a thanks to the sponsors and volunteers, the compare counted down from 5 and at once, all off the Women in Pink let go of their balloons with the Circle of Life playing in the background. Watching the emotion of the ladies, the audience and volunteers gave me goose bumps and (even though I didn’t understand much of the Italian) it really brought it home as to why the event takes place.