The History So Far...

The International Track and Field Meeting "RIETI 2005", which since 1992 has been part of the prestigious IAAF GRAND PRIX circuit, is due to take place on the first Sunday of September. Events will begin at 16.30 on the magical track of the "Raul Guidobaldi" Athletic Stadium in the Italian town of Rieti. Over the 35 years that the meeting has been running - this year being no exception - all the important world champions in athletics have come together to compete in this small, hospitable town in central Italy, achieving performances of such technical importance as to make it one of the most reknowned and prestigious events on the grand circuit of international athletics. It is not by chance that, over the years, six world records, one world best performance, three european records, twelve italian records together with a vast number of Best Seasonal Performances and National records, have been broken on the field and dias of the "Raul Guidobaldi". It is enough just to look in any book of statistics to find times and distances which were established in Rieti to see why, over the years, athletes, have chosen this Meeting as a focal appointment where they could try to improve their best performances.

From Carl Lewis, deemed the greatest athlete of all times, to Michael Johnson, from Pietro Mennea to Alberto Juantorena, from Sergej Bubka to Noureddine Morceli, from Daniel Komen to Steve Ovett, Steve Cram or Sebastian Coe, the myths of English long distance, from Sara Simeoni to Merlene Ottey, from Florence Griffith to Heike Dreschsler, from Irena Szewinska to Gail Devers, from Gabriella Dorio to Stefka Kostadinova, from Ana Fidelia Quirot to Kim Batten, from Maricica Puica to Maria Mutola, from Fiona May to Fabrizio Mori; all have contributed to the world-famous reputation of the track and field meeting at Rieti. Furthermore, with their help, Rieti has gained a position of honour within the fascinating history of athletics. For more than a quarter of a century, the meeting has been a point of reference, written in history, that today is made even more tangible by the possibilty of watching it live on Eurosport in Europe and Africa. Names, timings and distances have been carved in an event of passion.

However, Rieti has become famous for the nickname that the athletic world has given it "The Temple Of Middle Distance": a title that Noureddine Morceli has contributed to over the last few years, with his fantastic exploits crowned by a double World Record in the 1.500 metres and the Mile, achieved in rapid succession in 1992 and 1993. Those fantastic gallops resulted in the Algerian being granted honorary citizenship of Rieti and gave the track an aura of magic. The incredible, still-undefeated, World Record of the 3000 metres, established during the edition of 1996 by Daniel Komen and of the 1000 metres established during the 1999 edition by Noah Ngeny, confirmed a tradition and aroused forgotten passions. Every year, many of the world's best athletes meet up in Rieti and the Organizing Committee wants to make the 'Meeting' an event to remember: in a day in which thirty-three years of the town's history and its passion for athletics, will undoubtedly result in an unforgettable afternoon. An afternoon, that by now, has already carved its appointment in the sport's calendar. An appointment which is precious to Rieti with its love of athletics, and dear to its all time champions. It is enough to look at the past : in thirty-four years, a unique tradition is reflected and more is still to come.