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Race Report: Milano Marathon

We ran the fastest marathon in Italy in one of the most visited cities in the world: Milan. Discover everything about the race, our experience, and how it feels to run under the Duomo.

The Milano Marathon is one of the three most famous marathons in Italy, together with Rome and Venice, and the main running event hosted every year in the city, followed by Stramilano and Deejay Ten on shorter distances. I found myself running this race more than 3 years after signing up for the 2020 edition which would have been my first-ever marathon. Covid did not let that happen. So, I was at the start line in 2023 in the city where I lived for 4 years while graduating.

Distance: Marathon

Where: Milan, Italy

When: First weekend of April

Cost: €60 - €85

How to Enter: All info will be available on the official site

The Event

The Milano Marathon started relatively recently in 2000 and is now at its 21st edition holding the record for the fastest marathon in Italy for both genders (Titus Ekiru 2h02'57" and Hiwot Gebrekidan 2h19'35" in 2021). Almost 5,000 runners and 3,000 relays participated in the 2023 edition, confirming the popularity of running in the city and creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere at the start line with more than 13,000 starters. The event also heavily promotes sustainability and charity which is always nice to see especially in a metropolis like Milan.

This year's edition marked the official marathon debut of the fastest Italian runner right now: Yeman Crippa. Everyone was excited about him and supporters were buzzing about a possible win on his first attempt.

Alexandros Syros Milano Marathon
Alexandros Syros in tears after a 2h31 finish and a PB

The Course

The race is a loop starting from Porta Venezia and it touches almost all the major landmarks in Milan. From Duomo and Arco della Pace to Montenapoleone and City Life's skyscrapers, more than 18 kilometers of the course are inside the inner city center. This is the first and last section of the course which is a delight and alleviates the pain of the last kilometers. The midsection extends towards the northwest of the city touching San Siro, Parco di Trenno and Parco del Portello before heading back to the town center.

Milano Marathon 2023 Course
Milano Marathon 2023 Course

The course is well-marked and all the roads are closed, even though later in the morning you might see some people crossing the streets here and there. Some sections outside the city are not that scenic or enjoyable since you find yourself running on large roads with cars speeding on the other side and not much to look at.

Water stations are well organized and located roughly every 4 kilometers. They will be crucial for your hydration plan with perceived temperatures well above 20 degrees. One point that the organization should improve is the pacers. It is very hard to spot them and understand their time. Each pacer has a set of air balloons attached to the back with the time written on it - not the most efficient option.

My Race

This race was the first of three in the span of 5 weeks, being the other one Ultra (69k) and a Trail Marathon, so I treated it as the last build-up of my training for those two. I wanted to take my time and enjoy the race without going too hard - easier to say it than do it.

I started pretty well and felt great from the start and the first 10k went by in 45 minutes, the beauty of the course helped a lot, and I decided to push a bit harder for the 5k after since I was feeling well. After, I decided to hold the pace a stay between 4:30 and 4:40 per kilometer knowing that the difficult part was about to come in the last 12 kilometers.

After kilometer 30 I still felt well despite the hot weather and dehydration for which I decided to carry a bottle of water for most of the race. I went harder the last 8 kilometers improving my pace by 10 seconds and finishing with my fastest kilometer at the end - always a good feeling. In the end, this strategy reminded me how important is to manage yourself during the race to finish on a high note - and pass loads of runners struggling in the last kilometers.

Nutrition: 3x SIS Gels

Final Scorecard

Course ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The course is beautiful thanks to the scenery of the city and it makes up for the boring part outside of the town center.

Logistics ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Atmosphere ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Medal & Tee ⭐⭐⭐⭐


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