A little hot, a lot jet-lagged, and more than a bit nervous, I find myself in awe of what I am doing tomorrow.
There is no earthly reason why a 60-year-old recreational runner should be rising at dawn to run a Mile race in the footsteps of the greatest miler ever on the track of Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. But…here it goes.
My hotel is just down the block, literally, from the Coliseum, which was the site of one of the epic Olympic events from 1960, when Rome last hosted the Olympic Games. There, Abebe Bikila ushered in the era of the African runners when he won the Marathon, in the darkness of the night, after running 26.2 miles barefoot.
This was the Olympics where, in the stadium in which I take the track tomorrow, Armin Hary of Germany ran a 10.2 to set a World Record in the 100m. Wilma Rudolph won not one, not two, but three Gold Medals in the sprints. Herb Elliot of Australia crushed it in the metric mile with a dominating performance. And this was the Olympics where Cassius Clay, at the ripe age of 18, won the Olympic Gold Medal as a Light heavyweight.
All are inspiring.
Rome is bidding to host the Games again in 2024, and the Stadio Olimpico is destined to play a key roll in the Games if they are awarded to Rome.
I hope to run well tomorrow in a stadium that may once again play host to the Olympic Games.