The 19th edition of the Marathon and the “Pisanina Half Marathon” started at the Piazza dei Miracoli, in a glorious morning under the winter sunshine of Tuscany.
The pace in the women’s half marathon was fierce from the start, with the French runner Cecile Kempf leading in the first 5km. Maltese runner Lisa Marie Bezzina, of Pembroke Athleta, overtook Cecile and beat her convincingly with an advantage of 2 minutes, finishing in a time of 1h19’42”. Lisa managed an impressive improvement of more than 2 minutes from her personal best, and was overwhelmed by her first international win.
In the men’s race, Luke Micallef of Pembroke Athleta started in 4th/5th place, keeping in sight the front runners. He moved into third place and caught up with the second runner at the 18th km, with both athletes pushing each other in the last 3km. Luke made the decisive move and finished second in 1hr12’41”, a personal best by almost 7 minutes, which brought him to an international podium for the first time.
It was also an impressive performance by Peter Azzopardi, also of Pembroke Athleta who finished 18th overall, and second in the over 50 age category, in a time of 1hr19’40, missing the win by just 1 second. All athletes train under the guidance of coach Ivan Rozhnov.
The race results are as follow:
1st: 1h09’57” – Francesco Perri
1st: 1h19’42” – Lisa Marie Bezzina
2nd: 1h12’42” – Luke Micallef
2nd: 1h21’42” – Cecile Kempf
3rd: 1hr12’45” – Enrico Berciadori
3rd: 1hr24’09” – Giulia Montagnin