9400 runners from 80 countries are registered for the 35th edition of the Asics Firenze Marathon which takes place tomorrow, November 25, at 8:30 in Piazza Duomo. The race will be preceded by a hand bike race for disabled athletes beginning at 8:27. The arrival following the 42 km and 195 meters will also be in Piazza Duomo.

Numerous runners have signed up for the event during the final registration window at the Marathon Expo which took place on Friday and Saturday, for the first time at the Stazione Leopolda. 40 musical groups will be distributed along the race route to provide an ambience of celebration. Many are looking forward to running the 13th kilometer, situated in Piazzale Kennedy in the Cascine park, which is dedicated to Davide Astori. The player’s family will be present at the finish line, together with a delegation of Fiorentina players that will also be present at kilometer 13. The athletes will pass kilometer 13 between the hours of 8:53 (fastest hand bike) and 10:34 (the estimated time for the last athlete). The longest time allowed to reach the finish line is 6 hours at 15 minutes. 

CHARITY RELAY

Among the day’s events, the Huawei 3×7 Relay saw nearly 300 teams, made up of around 900 athletes. Among the protagonists were some of the Fiorentina’s classic players, with the team’s Vice President Gino Salica and Giancarl Antognoni present at the race. Marco Donadel, Celeste Pin, Alberto Orlando, Alberto Malusci, Roberto Galbiati, Sauro Fattori, Marco Vendrame and the team’s communication specialist Elena Turra, who closed her leg of the race in just 33 minutes.

Male team Assi Giglio Rosso, made up of distance runners Constantino Seghi and David Affortunati (class of 2000) and Daniele Banchini (class of 1974), won the relay with a total time of 1 hour and 13’08”. Best personal time went to Seghi (22’22”). Second place went to the Asics Frontrunners team ((Giuseppe Laudicina, Mattia Pirotti, Claudio Flore) in 1:17’35”. Third was la Rinascita Montevarchi (Calabrò, Fejzai, Taras) in 1:19”25”.

Fastest female relay team was the “Pizza Party”, made up of three Firenze Marathon Italian champions in the under 18 category. Maddalena Pizzamano, Emma Sangalli and Lucrezia Misuri finished in tenth place total with a final time of 1:23’18” (Sangalli finished her leg in 25’46”. Second place went to the Asics Frontrunners Federica De Nicola, Ilaria Novelli and Luisa Iogna Prat in 1:23’24”.

The Mauro Pieroni Trophy went to the charity Benefica which had the largest number of participants registered, to benefit Emergency. All of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the nearly 40 charities that participated.

CHILDREN AND FAMILITIES

In the afternoon, the Ginky Family Run took place. A short run of nearly 3 km, the Ginky Family Run is primarily for children and families, who were surely disappointed by the rain. In any case, nearly 500 participants shower up to Piazzale Gui, in front of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. 

TOP RUNNERS

During the afternoon, top runners were present at the Marathon Expo, this year in the Stazione Leopolda. The objective, as always, is to beat Kenyan James Kutto’s record made in 2006, with a time of 2h08’40”. For the women, the goal is to beat the 2002 record of Slovenian Helena Javornik, completed in just 2h28’15”. The two pacemakers will try to keep the group going at a pace of 1h04’00” with a finishing time of 2h07’59” for the men and a pace of 1h13’50” with a projected finish time of 2h27’41” for the women. Keep an eye out for Kenyan male Gilbert KiprutoKirwa with race bib number 6, who placed third last year, as well as number 2 Bonsa Dida Direba who won the Chinese Xiamen marathon in Peking with a personal best of 2h07’. Watch out for the three favorites: race bib number 1, Kenyan Abraham Kiplagat, number 3 Abdi Ali Gelelchu from Bahrain and number 5, Rwandan, Felicien Muhitira.

The female race will be focused on Israeli Lonah Chemtai Sampeter (race bib F2), the favorite athlete. She won a gold medal for the 10000 meter race this summer at the European Championships in Berlin.  She has run the marathon various times, with a personal best time of 2h40’16”, and has been training intensely in Kenya, so she has high expectations. Race bib F1 is held by Kenyan Caroline Chepkwony, who has a personal best time of 2h27’27”, while bib F3 is worn by Ethiopian Ayele Gebaynesh Gedamu, able to run the race in 2h26’54”. Kenyan Sara Jebet should not be underestimated with her time of 2h31’09”, and nor should Rwandan Clementine Mukadanga with a personal best time of 2h35’45”. We also have a world champion among us: Nikolina Sustic won the gold medal in September for her 100km ultramarathon. The Croat has won the Passatore 100km race four times now, as well as the Berlin marathon, and eight Italian marathons. Just this November she made her personal best time of 2h42’10” in Turin and the following week she almost did it again with a time of 2h42’26” on the streets of Verona. “I’ve done dozens of marathons in Italy over the past few years, but this is my first time in Florence and I’m excited. I want to run with a pace of 2h42’, and maybe make my personal best with a time of 2h41’. My season has been long, including winning the world 100km.”

The Italians will be represented by Ventetian Maurizia Cunico, more than once a protagonist on the streets of Florence: “In 2016 I finished 6th in 2h50’50”. Last year I finished 8th in 2h53’51” but I was cold and wasn’t well protected, which really hurt my time. So now I’m here to try again to beat my personal best of 2h47’54”. I tried a month ago at the Venice Marathon, but in the final kilometers I had to slow down due to the high water. I’m still in shape. Let’s hope this will be the occasion. I’m confident, but f course the weather will be fundamental. My season has been perfect, I improved my half marathon time to 1h20’10” and in other races I’ve been running as fast as ever. I’m going to give it my all.”

STORIES

Among this year’s participants is Giampaolo Biagioni, from Pistoia, who suffers from chronic leukemia. This will be his tenth Firenze Marathon, running for his club Cai Pistoia, after having completed the 50 km Abetone-Pistoia race. “I shouldn’t have been able to run at all in theory – he explained – but with tenacity, step by step I’ve gotten here, and I want to spread the message that those who suffer like I do should never lose hope. There is always a way, at least you can hope. In my bad luck, I have still have had the privilege of running this marathon ten times.” “We’ll all be waiting for him at the finish line,” explained his wife, Antonella. 

Angelo Cellai, from Forli, is a type 1 diabetic runner who has suffered with the illness since 1970. In 2004, he underwent pancreatic treatment for the illness, but it is still only partially treated. He completed the 100km Passatore race in 2015 in 11 hours and 55 minutes. He has run over twenty marathons and ultramarathons, and last November 4 he ran the New York Marathon. His personal best time is 3 hours and 20’, which he did in Turin. Tomorrow he will be ready, although “I’m not in great shape,” – he explained, for questions of work and logistics. His goal is to finish in under four hours. He is a part of the Marathon Roma Castelfusano club. “Achievements are reached through perseverance, and not giving up,” is his motto. 

THE CONFERENCES

Today we also witnessed debates surrounding the theme “Firenze, the city of sport” with Andrea Vannucci, the Comune di Firenze’s sports minister, Gino Salica, the Vice President of the A.C.F. Fiorentina, Marcello Marchioni, President of ASSI Giglio Rosso, Elio Sità, President of Fipav Toscana and the organizational committee of the world Volleyball championships, Massimo Gramigni, Director of the Mandela Forum, and Paolo Chirichigno, sports editor of Italian national publication La Nazione. The discussion was moderated by Giampaolo Marchini, editor of said publication. 

Then, together with Fidal Toscana, we saw the discussion entitled “The development of marathoners’ strength,” with trainer Renato Canova, Maurizio Cito, trainer for Yohanes Chiappinelli, who has a gold medal for the the European under-23 category this year. Giorgio Damilano, Olympic speed walker, and Giorgio Garello, Asics trainer were also present. Massimiliano Santangelo, general secretary of Fidal Toscana, moderated.

THE MARATHON ON TV

RAI will broadcast the marathon on RaiSport on the day of the event, Sunday, November 25, from 12:30 to 2:00. It will be reshown from midnight to 1:30 am the night of the race.

ACCESSABILITY

A detailed plan of accessibility is available from the Comune di Firenze, as well as on the website www.firenzemarathon.it. Please remember that the roads surrounding the city will be opened one hour after the race begins. For the rest, we suggest you not use your car, and enjoy the day for the celebration that it is, with a special atmosphere. Cheer the athletes on!

LIVE COVERAGE

Real time coverage of the race will be available on the official Facebook page of the Firenze Marathon, with finishing times and classifications updated constantly at www.firenzemarathon.it.

TOMORROW’S PROGRAM

8:27 Start Time Disabled Athletes – Piazza Duomo

8:30 Marathon Start Time – Piazza Duomo

9:45 First Arrivals Disabled Athletes

10:40 First Arrivals Marathon Runners

11:15 Official Award Ceremony – Piazza Duomo

2:45 Official Race End