Just got my sports medical certificate

I’ll be doing a half marathon come February 24. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I am using this training schedule at the moment. Funny bit is that I thought that it used a metric convention and only realised recently that it was in miles.

So imagine my confusion when I first looked at it. Maximum training distance of 12 km? How will that prepare me for a 21 km race?

Luckily for me, I spotted it out quite early on before the training gap got too big. So I did some conversion and did some comparison.


Yikes! The longest distance in the training is 19 km. I know that the ultimate goal is 21 km. Nevertheless, I don’t usually run more than 10 km, so I can’t even begin to fathom just where to start mapping my running course.

So I’ll just prefer not to think about it for the moment and when it comes, it comes. Seeing too much hurdles in front of me freaks me out.

Anyway, in Italy, I found out that to do a mezza maratona or a maratona, one needs to have an accredited sports medical certificate. I just got mine yesterday, and I have to say, that getting it is probably an annoying thing to do as you have to go through so many different places prior in order to get one.

  • First, you’d have to make an appointment with the sports doctor. The segreteria will ask you to bring along a urine sample analysis.
  • Next, you go to your family doctor to get a ricetta to have the referral to do the urine sample test.
  • After that, you make an appointment at a centro medico. The one that I went to had a machine where I slot in my tessera sanitaria to book an appointment.


  • Then you go to a pharmacy to buy a urine sample container. It costs about a euro each, and should look like the one below instead of the cylindrical one.


  • You are supposed to eat and drink normally the day before. Go to bed as normal, and then take the sample when you wake up without drinking or eating. This site could be useful in knowing more.
  • Then hand in your sample and get the data about a couple of days later. I paid about 16 euros for this, and had fun looking at the results (even though I couldn’t translate some of these technical terms in Italian)


Sidenote : I’m an Italian resident and have a Carta D’Identita and a Tessera Sanitaria so I could go to public medical centers. I don’t know how the procedure goes for non residents.

For the appointment at the sports doctor itself was another thing.

  • First the doctor asks about your family and medical history. Like if there are anyone in the family that has diabetes and high blood pressure or if you’ve ever warded in the hospital.
  • And then he checks your weight and height. Which is quite standard.
  • After that he checks your blood pressure.
  • He then proceeds to take your ECG.


Here he’ll stick several adhesives with a sort of round metal button in the middle. One on each calf, one on each wrist and several on your left chest so I had to undo my bra for this part. And then he hooks up several wires and takes note of the reading. You don’t feel a thing. It doesn’t hurt.

I find it interesting to observe that Europeans are quite open about nudity, while in Singapore, the presence of a female staff had to be around when a woman have to be in the state of undress in medical centers.

  • After that, he makes you do step ups following a rhythm for one minute. It wasn’t that easy. My step/stool was about half a meter high and that’s a lot higher than the ones I ever used in step aerobics! I was wheezing towards the end.


  • He then takes your ECG again and compares the difference.
  • And then you do a lung capacity test.
  • Finally he evaluates if you are healthy, stamps an official chop and gives you your certificate.

And here is mine! Finally, after all that hassle!


I’m a little disappointed that it looks so nondescript – just a photocopied piece of paper. Considering that I paid 40 euro for this, it looks so cheap and easily forge-able. The only thing that makes it valuable is the official timbrato/rubber stamp on it.

Funny bit is that, when I tried to ask the doctor if I could have the data results to keep, he kept repeating that my data will be stored with the clinic for the next 5 years. Maybe there was something lost in translation in my trying to express in Italian.

Anyway this certificate is valid and reusable for up to a year. Considering how much I’ve spent so far (25 euro registering for the half marathon + 16 euro for the urine analysis + 2 euro for the urine sample container + 40 euro for the sports checkup + 10 euro for runner’s association membership fees + transport fares + precious time which is invaluable … Possibly even more than 100 euro! Say what!)

The cheapo side of me is thinking I should just make full use of this and participate in a marathon some time towards the middle of the year and just get it over and done with. Just to say that, hey I participated in a marathon.

Or I could probably regret it. 42km is like running from home to the Vatican city then run back home again … TWICE!

Baby steps … baby steps …

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