On 23 June the runners who put on the race bibs in San Remo for the half marathon, as well as for the 10 Km and the Family Run, will be able to run in a setting linked with the legendary athlete Dorando Pietri. You might want to ask: “What is the connection between San Remo and Pietri?” Here is the explanation:
Dorando Pietri is considered to be one of the worldwide symbols of the marathon because of his victory/defeat at the London Olympics of 1908. After a grueling race, an exhausted Pietri approached the finish line, falling several times, but managed to break the ribbon first, almost fainting. He was however disqualified because he had been helped up by a race official a few metres from the finish. However, his effort was rewarded by Queen Alexandra who awarded him a cup. This way Pietri became a sporting legend, considered as an icon by athletes, and in particular a hero of the marathon.
What does this have to do with San Remo? Dorando Pietri, born on 16 October 1885 near Carpi, actually spent the last 19 years of his life in San Remo. He moved to the City of Flowers on 26 November 1923 and stayed until his death on 7 February 1942.
In San Remo Dorando Pietri opened a garage and also worked as a tourist guide, going to welcome tourists at the railway station with his car, and taking them to visit the beautiful attractions of the city. He was particularly in demand by English visitors because of his fame in Great Britain following the epilogue of the London Olympics.
Dorando Pietro is buried in the cemetery of Valle Armea. Along the cycle path, which will be the route for the participants in the Run for the Whales, can be found a commemorative plaque dedicated to the hero of London 1908.