Going barefoot at the finish is becoming a tradition in Rome.
Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia won her third consecutive Rome Marathon last weekend. Her winning time was two hours, 24 minutes and 13 seconds. More significant than her victory, however, was how she went about it. In the final stretch, Dado paused to remove her shoes and crossed the line barefoot.
This gesture was a sign of respect for the legendary Ethiopian marathoner, Abebe Bikila. Bikila won the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome while wearing no shoes. Finishing the Rome Marathon sans shoes has become a tradition for Ethiopian champions. Last year, the men’s winner, Siraj Gena, crossed the finish line barefoot.
This year, however, Gena was unable to repeat his gesture. Dickson Kiptolo Chumba of Kenya won the race in two hours, eight minutes and 45 seconds.
Dado’s winning margin was a full two minutes ahead of second-place finisher Goitetom Haftu Tesema who is also an Ethiopian citizen.
In other Rome Marathon-releated news, Monique van der Vorst, a former Paralympian, ran a 4-kilometer race that accompanied the marathon. Van der Vorst recently regained use of her legs.
For More: The Washington Post