Two and a half hours into the first marathon I metaphorically 'blew up', overheated and collapsed under the shade of a tree. Not the start I was hoping for but it was the hottest day of the year here in Rome today and the temperature peaked at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) . I have never experienced anything like it! We met Alessio Punzi who works for the organiser of the Rome Marathon at the Coliseum for a photo call and set off on marathon one at 9 am. Alessio was hugely supportive and has lined up some coverage in the Italian press. He even invited me to run as a guest in the 2012 Rome marathon (with Hannah along to cheer me on!). 9 am was (in retrospect!) far too late to set off in this heat and we learnt the hard way that an early start is absolutely imperative. With Hannah alongside on her road bike, we left the Coliseum, passed numerous monuments and piazzas and eventually found ourselves in the suburbs and eventually into the surrounding farmland. The temperature continued to go up and up my heart rate began to go dangerously high. Initially I just thought I was 'washed out' by the huge journey from the UK but I soon realised just how significant a factor this kind of heat can be! Imagine completing a marathon in a sauna - it felt something like that to me - truely stiffling... At midday we still had miles left to run and each time I ran up a hill my heart rate would get so high I would need to slow down or stop. I was copiously pouring with sweat, struggling to drink enough water to avoid dehydration and, as the run was taking so long, sun stroke was becoming a clear risk. Each time I felt I was overheating and nearing collapse, Hannah, now in the support car, would pour some water over my head to bring my temperature down! The afternoon became became a battle of attrition and I haven't suffered quite so intensely since experiencing nasty altitude sickness on the final ascent of Kilimanjaro. We took it step by step, hour by hour, avoided the need for medical help (!) and made it in the end! Views across the magnificent Lago Di Bracciano were a rich reward. Doing a marathon in 40 degree heat is best avoided; we'll set the alarm earlier from now on! We drove to a lovely lakeside campsite, pitched our tent and headed out for pasta. By 10 pm I scarsely had the energy to move and went to bed fearing the prospect of marathon 2.