ignore-Facebook tracking pixel
Owner Amy wearing a Pacer shirt and holding a medal

Pacing the Iconic Rome Marathon

Four weeks before the Rome Marathon, Amy Magdalein, franchise owner of Moms on the Run Jacksonville, was asked to be a pacer. She quickly jumped on board, gathered a few of her Moms on the Run teammates, and flew to the city known for ancient ruins, cobblestone streets and the country of Vatican City. Read our conversation with Amy about her experience running this iconic race.
Q: How did you get recruited to become a pacer for the Rome Marathon?
A: I have paced lots of marathons and half marathons for different pacing companies and back in October, Jim Crist from Marathon Pacing sent me an email asking if I would be interested in going to pace the Rome Marathon. I was like… Ummm I don’t know maybe, sure that sounds good. Let me know the details. And I didn’t hear back. Then on a Wednesday four weeks before Rome, Jim called me and said, “Hey can you go to Rome and pace the marathon in four weeks?” Me: WHAT?? Can you give me till tomorrow to figure out the logistics? And that was it. I was going to Rome!
Q: What are some of the things you think or do as you’re pacing it versus running it yourself?
A: For me and most other pacers, pacing a race is a job. We are there to keep a certain pace, keep our runners going and to finish on time. We can make or break someone else’s race and I take that very seriously! Even though the pace I run is slower than if I was racing for myself, I prepare for the marathon in the same way as I would for my own race. Building mileage, taking care of my body, fueling and hydrating just like I would for any other race day. During the race, one of the most important sections is the first 5K because if you have runners with you trying to run a personal best, you can make or break their race in that first 3.1 miles. Go out too fast and you will drop them and they won’t be able to catch up. I like to start that first 5K a little on the slow side. Just a little…and allow the runners with me to warm up then we get to our goal pace and cruise!
Q: What was your favorite moment?
A: My favorite moment in Rome was coming across the Ponte San Pietro bridge (Saint Peter’s bridge) and taking a left then seeing Saint Peters at the end of the long wide road. It was a sight to behold and something I will never forget!
Q: What types of people did you meet along the way?
A: Oh wow, I met so many amazing people from all over the world! My pacing group consisted of me and three other gentlemen. Phil Jeffries, a pacer from Swindon, UK, was a gem. He was a little familiar with the run/walk I planned to do and jumped on board with me right away. We did the run/walk together the whole race and he grabbed me water and sponges and snacks whenever I wasn’t in a good position to reach them. Loved pacing this marathon with him!
I also met Vinzent, a 23-year young man from Germany. It was his first marathon and he had never ran more than a half before. Not ideal training, but he was there and ready to run. His half was a good bit faster than the pace we were running but he just wanted to finish and have fun so he jumped into our pace group, embraced the run/walk and did amazing! In the last half mile I told him… you are good, push forward and finish ahead of us. He did.. and finished four minutes before us! The power of pacing yourself AND using a run/walk! 🙌  He also spoke German, Italian and perfect English so he was my translator throughout the race. When other runners came up asking me questions, he would translate for us. Huge help and super nice kid! I have a feeling he has many more marathons in his future!
Q: I’m sure you spread your MOTR energy! What was the race course and crowd like?
A: I had to wear a pacer shirt so I couldn’t wear my MOTR top but I had to represent so I wore the new MOTR visor which was perfect because the sun was beating down on us the entire race! My MOTR ladies picked up the torch though, wearing MOTR green and pink on St. Patrick’s Day at the Rome Marathon!
The course was amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it. Unforgettable the entire way. It is a course that every runner should put on their bucket list for sure. I loved it!
Q: Who all ran from MOTR Jax?
A: Kristin Schmidt, Amanda Stricker (Assistant Coach), Heather Cumbo, Nanette Thomas, Mardi Myers and Jackie Myers (a friend from Georgia; she is an honorary member and wore her MOTR top too!)
ALL our ladies finished the race strong! A few of us got tattoos that evening in Rome together. (see photo!)
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: It’s hard to have eight women in a cramped two-bedroom flat in Rome, but we made the best of it. No squabbles and everyone had a great time. Best group of ladies to travel and race with! I hope we get to do it again soon!