St. Valentines is a worldwide event but the Italian city of Verona, the Shakespearean setting for Romeo & Juliet, has taken it upon itself to become the city of love.
The entire weekend is dedicated to it. They decorate the streets with hearts and red ribbons. Chocolate and flower stands are set up in open air markets in every piazza. It’s a beautiful romantic atmosphere…
…which is why someone thought that a running event would be a great way to cap off the weekend!
This was the 7th year for the Giulietta e Romeo Half Marathon. The website claims that it’s a race of “21,097 meters of adrenaline and sweat…” which, um, I don’t really think is a great way to sell the event. I mostly signed up to run with friends and because the last metres are actually run inside the Arena. Cool!
This year it was also the Italian Half Marathon championship, which means we’d get to see a lot of really fast athletes at the start.
The race is divided into two groups – half marathon runners and relay duo. It wouldn’t be true romance if two runners couldn’t run together! One completes 8k then hands the chip off to his or her partner who completes the remaining 13k.
I was at the very back of the start and began my race with two runner friends. I’d heard that it was a beautiful course… that they decided to change this year! I didn’t ask but can bet that they decided to make it more spectacular for the bystanders since it would really be a great professional race. I just kept seeing that we went but the same places a few times, crisscrossed the pro racers and it felt like we were always going up a hill.
It was however absolutely worth every metreto be able to run down a purple carpet into the Arena! Please note that my outfit matches the carpet. I’d like to say I planned it that way but I didn’t. Actually, that might be a great idea for all my future races…
If you fancy running the Giulietta and Romeo Half next year, I give it two thumbs up. Here’s a few handy links to help you plan out your trip:
Our 12 week Half Marathon course… you’ll need to start training on 24 November!
Verona Airport, to check out which airlines fly direct