Palermo Marathon. ( Sunday 18th November )
Palermo is the capital city of Sicily. A hustling bustling city situated on the coast in the North West of Sicily
The buildings are decadent and portray past elegance still apparent through all the rubble, decay and graffiti Palermo is a city with a lot of character. A place to people watch. A place full of charisma!
The people are friendly, helpful, jovial and pretty laid back.
We flew from Manchester to Bergamo. ( close to Milan, Italy) and spent a day looking round the beautiful old town quarters. Later that day we flew to Palermo, Sicily. The day before the Marathon we went for a 4 mile run ( Ok it ended up being 6 plus miles ) to loosen our legs off and see a bit of Palermo's seafront. The weather was 24 degrees A bit different to the 8 degrees in the uk. Shirley was feeling pretty rough after having come down with a cold bug a day or two before flying and with no running since the Hardmoors 60 6 weeks before, Palermo Marathon was going to be tough for her.
The morning of the Marathon came and the streets where full of runners. Alongside the Marathon there was to be a half marathon. The marathon route was two laps of the half marathon route The half marathon runners had red writing on their race numbers while the marathon runners had black numbers. As the only Brit Male I was wearing the flag for the uk with a union jack buff and Odlo socks with a union jack logo on the hem of the socks with A pair of brand new brooks pure flow cadence shoes ( promotes a forefoot/mid foot land ) going on their first outing. I was all set to go.
For the first 10 miles I ran with Shirley who was really suffering with her breathing (due to the bug she had) but was pushing on regardless proving how tough she was! I decided to press on and push for 4 hours.
Passing the race start on lap 2 I noticed a lot of people had stopped ( majority of runners where Half Marathon runners) The first half of the 13 mile lap took the marathon into the outskirts of Palermo, while the second half of the lap went back into the city and through the main streets of Palermo passing by beautiful buildings full of history and character. A few miles into the second lap I noticed at points there wasn't a person in site, either runner or spectator, crazy for a Capital City Marathon. Cars where being stopped by the Police to keep the streets safe to run on, and the Drivers didn't appreciate this, holding their hands down on their car horns (at the time I thought this was in support of the runners, I now know much differently now.)
Passing by the race start the music had stopped and there was not a spectator in sight. Further on the aid tables which had been handing out water had gone!! Sicilians where on the streets but not taking a blind bit of notice of the runners.
I enjoyed running down the main streets window shopping. With 1km to go I set off on a pretty fast pace and with 200 metres to go turned it into a sprint. I could hear someone right behind me so I decided to not let them pass and pushed as hard as I could, but the faster I got the faster the pitter patter I could hear behind me was.
I crossed the finish line and looked behind me, there was no one there, it had been my shoes making the noise :0)) I looked around for my Medal, this turned into quite a mission, eventually I was handed one.
Not one person near the finish line had clapped me or said well done. I looked over to where a tent which had been providing massages earlier was. It had gone!!!
I set off to rack another 2 miles in (28.4 in total) by running up the Marathon Course to Shirley and back to the finish with her. She had suffered with her bug but was still pushing on. For 10 miles of the course she hadn't had a drink because they had removed all the water stations!!!!
I finished in 3hrs 58 mins in 131st place.
The Brooks Cadence where brilliant and the Rocktape on my knees did its job!
We spent a few more days in Palermo before flying to Milan. We had two nights in Milan.