Home News Splashing to the Finish line in the Venice Marathon

Splashing to the Finish line in the Venice Marathon


Generally, when you sign up to a marathon you consider the potential weather conditions, looking at the wind, rain, snow, sun and frost depending on your choice of event and indeed the country where the event is taking place – but would you think to check the tides?

The Venice Marathon

Known as the city with no roads, canals connect the 118 small islands that make up Venice off the Adriatic Sea in Northern Italy.

The Venice Marathon attracts participants from all over the world. Bridges are placed around the city for the runners, including a bridge across the Grand Canal, built especially for the marathon. The last three kilometres have 14 little bridges over the canals.

The 2018 event, which took place on Sunday 28th October, went ahead despite the conditions, starting in Stra, approx 25km west of Venice. However, as people got closer to the finish line located in Venice, they encountered ankle deep water.

For the runners who planned to take on the Venice Marathon last Sunday, they may have thought about how they would overcome the dreaded wall and go through it, but put little thought to the potential chance of having to wade through the last kilometre of the course rather than run, walk or jog to the finish line.

According to the organisers ‘It was the worst conditions ever for the event, over 75% of city had been affected by the floods caused by the high tides’.

Ethiopian Mekuant Gebre and Kenyan Angela Tanui braved the high tide, a strong headwind and driving rain to win the 33rd Huawei Venice Marathon. Gebre beat out a bunch of Kenyans to win the men’s event in 2h13:13 hours. Tanui, the heavy favourite, dominated the women’s event in 2h31:30 hours.

Splashing to the Finishline

The high tide along the final stretch inside Venice, which forced a flooded St. Mark’s square to close, caused the runners to wade through inches of water on the Giudecca waterfront and on sections of the final stride on Riva Sette Martiri, killing chances of a fast final time. When Gebre came through there was about one inch of water, but when Tanui arrived the high tide had brought it to about three inches. With great splashes, they made it to the finish.

Gebre ran most of the race together with several Kenyans, who gradually lost contact with this lone Ethiopian. He broke away after 35 kilometers, edging Kenyans Gilbert Chumba, second at 2h13:52, and Stephen Kiplimo, third at 2h13:58. “The final stretch was really tough, but I knew I had a good lead and it was trouble for everyone,” Gebre said.

Japanese star Yuki Kawauchi, the winner of the Boston marathon this year, was seventh at 2h27:43. “From the very start I felt my legs were not responding properly and I never really got into the race,” he said. “A bad day, but I want to come back to show I can do much better.”

Tanui dominated the women’s race with a margin of over seven minutes. Ethiopian Sorome Amente was second at 2h38:59 and another Kenyan, Euliter Tanui, third at 2h40:56.