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Steve Edwards goes to Italy to complete Marathon Number 460

Only 40 more marathons to go in steve's world record attempt to run 500 marathons by 2012, all in an average time of less than 3 hours 20 minutes. Marathon 460 was the first of three marathons in 15 days for Steve. He will have certainly earned his Christmas festivities!

Here is his Race Report from Italy: "Wearing race no 2001, I completed marathon number 460 on Sunday 30th November 2008 in Florence, a new marathon for me and my first in Italy, so that's 22 countries I've now competed in.  A record 9000 runners entered this, the 25th running of the Florence Marathon, a pretty flat course throughout, however there are parts run on old cobbled and stone slabbed roads which make it a bit heavier going on the old legs. Apart from that though, I was looking forward to a half decent run, that is until the heavens opened about an hour before the start! This in itself wasn't the problem, it was the fact we had to be lined up in our time related starting pens 45 min before the gun or have to go to the back of the field. This meant standing in one place in the pouring rain for nearly an hour wrapped in a bin liner, getting wet and cold, certainly not ideal preparation before having to run 26 miles.
Anyway, we eventually got going but it took until about 5km before I managed to get the legs moving properly, after that, I never really did feel completely comfortable as my stomach wasn't feeling quite right. I got to halfway in just about 1:37, slightly down on what I expected, but given the the long wait at the start in the rain and my stomach cramping, I was happy to settle for a sub 3:15 if I could just maintain this pace. After halfway though, the legs really did begin to tire and my stomach wasn't getting any easier, I wasn't sure whether to stop and be sick or just carry on and hope it would wear off. I certainly didn't feel right and I knew it was going to be a slog to the end as I was already starting to count down the Km markers, but at least they were coming round quicker than mile markers do!
Surprisingly, I managed to maintain the same pace to reach the 32 Km (20 mile) point in 2:28 and even continued this pace up to about 39 Km before I began to get a bad cramp in my right foot, which is all I needed. I had no choice then but to slow right down as it worsened, but at least my stomach was feeling a little better. After a slow 40th Km, my foot had eased off and I looked at the watch to see that I needed to run the last 2 Kms in 9 minutes to get under 3:15. So, it was a case of getting the head down and just forcing the legs to move, I took my last drink at 40Km and just went for it. The last cobbled street after 41Km didn't help, but once back on the tarmac for the final half Km, I moved up another gear and really started to shift. I felt like throwing up, but just kept the legs going until the final couple of bends to the finish, back on the cobbles again and finally the long finishing mat to the line.
3:14:51. Job done. (And no, I didn't throw up at the end!)
This was a hard fought marathon and in the end I was glad to get the sub 3:15 and finish in the top 10% of the field. I've certainly had easier and more enjoyable runs on much tougher courses. So it just goes to show that it's all on the day and flat courses don't necessarily mean the fastest times."

The Florence Marathon takes place in one of the most fascinating cities in the world and its route takes the runners through the heart of it, filled with monuments and artistic sights.
The race starts off at Piazzale Michelangiolo, leaving the breathtaking Ponte Vecchio behind. Half of the course runs within the historical town centre and a great part across the Cascine Monument and National Park and the Florentine' districts. 

Source: Steve Edwards


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