In April, of this year, 16 long-distance runners competed in a test event for the marathon at this summer's Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This test event for the Rio 2016 marathon allowed organisers a chance to test the new technology, assess course signage, and evaluate locations on the route that might need to be changed. The marathon course took the 16 athletes through some of Rio de Janeiro's most historically-significant areas, and past some of the city's most iconic landmarks.
The Rio 2016 Organising Committee was extremely positive about the test event, and stated that only minor changes may now be needed to get the course fully up to speed for the women's marathon on the 14th of August and the men's marathon on the 21st of August. The Venues Director for Rio 2016, Gustavo Nascimento, said: "The test event served its purpose of measuring the impact that such a major competition could have on the city. The course has been measured and there will not be major changes."
Where Will The Rio 2016 Marathon Start And Finish?
The marathons at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will start and finish at Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome ("Sambódromo"). The venue will also be hosting the archery events. You'll no doubt be familiar with the venue as it's synonymous with the world famous parade that takes place during the annual Rio Carnival celebrations.
Marathon runners at the Sambadrome will be cheered on by 30,000 seated spectators. This should make for a pulsating atmosphere both at the beginning of the race, and the end of the race. The Archery competitions will play out in an isolated part of the venue, with the potential for 7,200 seated spectators to watch the bow-and-arrow masters do their thing.
Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon Course - Guide
After starting at the Sambadrome, participants in the test event ran up two of the city's most imposing roads - Avenida Presidente Vargas and Avenida Rio Branco. Following on from this, the marathon runners proceeded to race down to the Aterro do Flamengo - via one of Rio's most popular leisure spaces in Flamengo Park.
Botafogo beach came next for the Rio 2016 marathon course testers; a place that offers some truly awesome views of Sugarloaf Mountain in return for the athletes' troubles. It's here where the Olympic Marathon course turns back towards the Sambadrome.
This segment of the race took the Marathon course runners past the new-look Marina da Glória (a venue for the Rio 2016 sailing events), before moving past the Museum of Modern Art and the city's domestic airport - Santos Dumont.
The runners, at the Rio 2016 Marathon course test event, then headed into the Porto Maravilha region. The Porto Maravilha region, if you're interested, is a waterside area undergoing a process of regeneration ahead of this summer's Olympic Games. They then ran past two new museums that have recently opened in close proximity to the port - the 'Museum of Art of Rio' and the 'Museum of Tomorrow'.
And finally, presumably in a more tired state than when they started, the runners went back up the Avenida Rio Branco and Avenida Presidente Vargas. They completed their race, just like the Olympic athletes will in August, at the Sambadrome. Of course, it's still possible for minor course alterations to occur here and there but it now looks extremely likely that this is how the Rio 2016 Marathon course will be shaped.