Oscar Pistorius and Alex Zanardi start the final sprint to the 24th Venicemarathon Trofeo Casinò di Venezia that will take place on 25th October. The Paralympic multichampion in 100, 200 and 400 meters and the famous Formula 1 and Formula Cart pilot, who is now the protagonist of a lot of hand bike races, met this morning in the polished rooms of the Casinò of Venice together with the mayor of Venice Massimo Cacciari, the president of Venicemarathon Club Enrico Jacomini, the executive chief of the Casinò of Venice as well as the master of the house Carlo Pagan, the president of the Committee of Venice of CONI Renzo De Antonia and the town councilor of the Public Works Mara Rumiz, to introduce the 24th edition of Venicemarathon and all its social and supportive projects.

Alex Zanardi will start the 24th Venicemarathon like one of the favorite hand bikers, while Oscar Pistorius will delight in running the Family Run, a 4km non competitive race open to families and that takes place the day before the marathon. Both athletes will be in Venice to support the project "Accessible Venice – the barriers are overcome by running”, too. This initiative promoted by the Council of Venice and realized thanks to the sensibility of the organizing committee of Venicemarathon provides the extension of the period in which the wooden ramps on the 13 bridges along the marathon course remain available in order to make easier the visit and the accessibility of the city for the disabled people.

"I'm very honored to be the testimonial of this important project - the South African champion said - and this year I'm going to be more active taking part in the Family Run in San Giuliano's Park. After the World Championship of Berlin, it could be a very worrying race!"

Also Alex is strongly involved in the promotion of the project regarding the increase of the accessibility of Venice: "I would like to help to publicize more and more this great initiative that makes Venice accessible to people on wheelchair or anyone who has difficulties in overcoming the bridges and the architectural barriers of this city. This kind of people usually avoid getting out of their house, because they are afraid of the difficulties. For this reason I 'll take part in Venicemarathon and I'll try to run the hand bike race in my best way".

"Venicemarathon and all sports in general should be accessible to everyone and Oscar and Alex are helping us in extending this message to the public" - the President of the Venicemarathon Club Enrico Jacomini pointed out.

Other two social projects will interest the marathon of Venice. The first one is Bimbingamba, a project of the Association Niccolò Campo to supply disabled children with prosthesis after road accidents, diseases or wars. Alex is the testimonial of this initiative and has decided to use his acquaintance and experience acquired after the awful accident in 2001 during a car race in the circuit of Lausitzring that caused the amputation of his both legs, to speed up the waiting time, in order to supply prosthesis and give a new normal life to these children as soon as possible.

Moreover, Venicemarathon increases its commitment in "Run for Water, Run for Life", the project managed by Africa Mission - Cooperazione e Sviluppo to raise funds for digging wells in Uganda.

Thanks to the wide fund-raising realized in 2008, 35,157.50 Euros have been earmarked for the digging of two wells which, along with the others built in 2006 and 2007 for a total of six wells, will satisfy the needs of drinking water of the students of two secondary schools in the Moroto district and of the inhabitants of the shanty town Nakapelimen, for a total of 4,000 people.

This fund-raising for Uganda was born in 2006 and the campaign was carried out only with solidarity SMS, but since 2007 the donation has included also part of the registration fees at the two Family Runs, the non-competitive races open to families which take places every year on the Saturday before the marathon in Mestre inside San Giuliano's Park and in Dolo too, and the contribution of the Civil Defense Groups.

Since last year other initiatives have joined this project: the possibility for athletes to donate a free offer at the registration moment, the donation of the association "Ancient Dragons" and "Best Day for Bikers" (dedicate to the phisically disabled bikers in Marghera), the sale of handmade products of Cooperazione and Sviluppo and the sale of 7,000 technical t-shirts realized by Venicemarathon Club and Radio Deejay, that corresponds to a third of the total amount collected.

In these days the Organizing Committee is organizing the 2009 raising-fund campaign through the solidarity SMS, with the cooperation of the four most important mobile companies (TIM, Vodafone, Wind and 3) and Telecom Italia, in order to continue in helping Ugandan people, together with the donations offer by the marathoners.

As Lorenzo Cortesi, the managing director of Venicemarathon, illustrated, an incredible increase of inscriptions has been registered some months before the event. "More than 4,000 bib numbers have been already assigned, probably because athletes know that we have been obliged to fix the cap at 6,000 runners, due to Venetian logistic necessities. It's the first time in the Venicemarathon history that in July the 70% of the places available has been sold!"

This important result has been surely reached thanks to the project "Veneto - Run between earth and sky", too, an initiative supported by Veneto Region and realized by Venicemarathon together with the Marathon of St. Anthony of Padua and the Treviso Marathon, which aims to promote the sports tourism in this area.

A research commissioned by the Venicemarathon Club to a specialized agency has spotlighted that the 63,3% of foreign participants choose Venicemarathon because of its possibility to match sport and tourism together, while the 71% of the athletes resident outside Italy declares that their participation to this race has been a reason to visit the city of Venice for their first time. In economic terms, the research has also highlighted that Venicemarathon has enriched the territory with 8 millions of Euros each year, with an increase of 30% during the last seven years and a great promotion of the event and of its territory thanks to over than 1,000 articles in national and international news media, 3 hours of live broadcast on RAI in 29 Countries and an important share. The Riviera of Brenta, Mestre, Venice and their neighboring cities host every year over than 6,000 athletes together with their families and friends with a percentage of 30% of foreign people. Moreover, about 2,000 of operators and suppliers of the race, of Exposport and all the collateral events should be added.

In this days the Venicemarathon annual appointment with My 1st Marathon is starting. The program, which has been developed and is managed by Julia Jones will bring you to the finish line of the Venicemarathon with a smile on your face. This unique training program is based on four training sessions per week, and gives you the chance of direct support through e-mail.

The collateral events of the past years have all been confirmed: Exposport - Fair of Sport and of Leisure time - will be held in San Giuliano's Park in Mestre from Thursday 22nd October. Besides Exposport the San Giuliano's Park, center of Venicemarathon events, will host Open Sport, an initiative organized with the collaboration of the CONI Committee of Venice which will give the possibility to children and kids to test the different sports activities.

On the Saturday before the marathon, the appointment with the two Family Runs, one in Dolo and the other one inside the San Giuliano’s Park, is confirmed too. In 2008 these races, sponsored also this year by Oviesse and Banco San Marco, have drawn over than 10,000 kids and children.

As far as the technical aspect of the race is concerned, in the next edition marathoners will have the chance to count on the support of the SUUNTO Pace Maker Team - groups of pacers carrying colored balloons who will assist athletes in finishing the race in a specified time. Runners who follow the pacers will achieve their chronometric goal with a maximum difference of few seconds.

As for the commercial aspect the confirmation of the last year main partners shows that the event has a good appeal even in this period of unfavorable economic situation. In fact the technical sponsor ASICS will be part of Venicemarathon till 2010, year of the 25th Anniversary of the marathon. Also Powerade, the Sports Drink of the Coca-Cola Company, confirms its presence and it will refresh all marathoners along the course and at the final refreshment station of the marathon, together with Yakult, the probiotic drink that keeps the intestine healthy.

The significant collaboration established in the last years with other important companies has been confirmed: Banco San Marco, Groupama, Oviesse, Insula, Gruppo Veritas, San Benedetto, ACTV, Vela, Coldiretti, Palmisano and Russott Hotel, while the important collaboration with Casinò di Venezia is under renewal.

Finally Radio Deejay will be also for this edition the Venicemarathon official radio.

Among the suppliers, Suunto, Alpro Soya and Mentos (a Perfetti Van Melle brand) will support Venicemarathon for the first time.

This event has already received the patronage of Veneto Region, Province of Venice, Council of Venice, Council of Stra, Council of Fiesso d'Artico, Council of Dolo, Council of Mira, Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Venezi@opportunità, Port Authority of Venice, Venice APT, Vigili del Fuoco, IAAF, CONI, FIDAL, AIMS, Maratone Italiane and from this year the special patronage of CIP (the Italian Paralympic Committee), thanks to the great interest shown by Venicemarathon in the elimination of the architectural barriers of Venice, supported by Oscar Pistorius and Alex Zanardi, both of them testimonials of the event.

In these days the online sale of the Venicemarathon official merchandising has started on www.venicemarathon.it. It's possible to buy technical and leisure time products designed by Asics and Venicemarathon.

On 25th October Venicemarathon will celebrate its 24th birthday, but this will be only the first stage to the great celebration of the 25th Anniversary in 2010.