The Rome Marathon preparation presented a rather different challenge to me: getting the medical certificate that proves I am fit too run a marathon. (The fact that ten days ago I just successfully completed one does not seem to prove anything.) I had been there before in 2013 when I did Florence and Pisa, which also required this certificate (it comes down to an Italian law from 1982 after all) and while it was sort of an annoyance, it did turn out to be rather straight forward to arrange. Not so this year: drawing from my 2013 experience I rocked up at my GP, who was French and kind of familiar with issuing these certificates. The French have a similar law. The checks took 5 minutes. Two minutes later I was out of there, with a stamped and signed paper. Off it went to the the organisers to confirm my successful registration for the race. Only that they did not. Apparently I had the outdated form from last year, which could not be accepted anymore. The new form required ECG, lung test and urine analysis not older than 30 days. So I went back to my French doctor who was surprised by this level of details required, same as me. £260 was the price tag to get this done. UK prices. I wrote to the organisers and asked if there is an other way. And there was: for foreign runners who have difficulties to get these examinations they offer to get it done in Rome prior to the marathon for €70. Alternatively a proof of membership of an British Athletes affiliated running club would make the need for a certificate obsolete. So I investigated this route. Unfortunately these British Memberships seem to have a fixed start day, always running from 1st April to 31 of March. So how do I ensure that when I sign up for a running club end of February, that by 2nd of April (the date of the Rome Marathon) I have a proof of a valid membership for the new and not only for the old period. None of the three different running clubs could or wanted to answer this question. So I ended up organising a medical appointment in Rome. The time window for applying had long be closed, but here the Rome organisers were rather flexible and I did get a slot. But there was one condition: I still needed to bring a full urine analysis for the appointment, written in English not older than 30 days. I just had got a whole health screen done, with urine, blood and you name it analysis, but unfortunately that was 45 days ago. So I went to my GP the third time, peed into a cup the second time within 45 days, paid £26 and got an email a few days later with access to the online portal where I could download and print out the result. Which I did. But the print out looked worryingly informal and my concerns were growing that it might be rejected based on missing formal stamps and/or signatures. An email to the organisers to double check this was not answered. So on the last day I went to my GP a fourth time asked for a stamped and signed copy, which they were happy to do, but I had to come back later. Finally on my 5th visit, when I collected it, I felt I had everything in place to start journey to Rome. Which turned out to be right. After I managed to locate my contact in Rome just in time, who should bring me to the medical practice where the EGC and lung test was performed, I got the clearance from a smiling Italian doctor: “Good news”. When I finally was the proud holder of my start number (12 thousand something, which shows how last minute I got the clearance), I felt like a finisher already: running the whole thing now can’t be more difficult than getting this stupid paperwork sorted. And I got an explanation why it is so different this year: the Italian Athletics Federation came up with these great ideas just recently. So if you want to run marathons in Italy, better be prepared.