Held in Late September, this marathon runs through the streets of Berlin, lined with wonderful supporters and some very talented musicians, many very very young. Dogs also. In Europe, dogs are family. You go out, they go with you. I love this and because of this type of socialisation, the dogs love being there too. The trees are starting to turn with leaves beginning to brown and fall, yet mild enough to walk about in light clothing.
The course doesn’t back track, flows beautifully around the city and surrounds and is flat. I can only recall one very ever so slight rise. There were also no boring bits. None. Maybe I missed them as I was occupying myself by counting dogs. But I did not become aware of any boring bits.
Pacers are provided but honestly with so many people, don’t stress if you can’t get near them. Over that distance it all works itself out eventually. But it’s the NET time you want. Run your race, I’ve never used a pacer, though I’ve been one so I know they serve a purpose to many but in these events with so many people. Go in with a plan, stick to that plan and have a plan B if plan A goes awry.
The expo is held out at an old airport called Tempelhofer. It ceased operation in 2008, and still has all the bag carousels and checkin desks. I didn’t recognise any of the airlines though. The actual expo is down stairs where some old aircraft are parked and incorporates a food market too. It was quite a nice welcoming, pleasant and well organised environment.
The expo was a one way pedestrian traffic system which worked for avoiding congestion and keeping the large number of people moving. Tempelhofer is a little far for a tapering marathon runner to walk to, so the tube, underground, subway or whatever you want to call it is the best way to do it. Transport is free for runners and get off at the station TWO stops before the Tempelhofer station. Otherwise it will take you to the other side of the airport which is now used as recreational grounds and will have you walking across the entire airfield. I did not do this but I spoke to someone who did.
The start and finish precinct of the marathon is conveniently located together in the same spot! Brandenburger Gate. The start time is 0915 for corrals A,B,C and D which is quite a nice start time, while corrals E,F,G and H start later with the latest start about 1030.
The tube, has a station right there at Brandenburger Gate; So it is definitely the easiest way to travel. Upon leaving the station it is literally a 2 min walk where one says their goodbyes to loved ones and embarks on the start of the marathon journey.
Toilets. Yep, we are going there.
- Shop around, there are plenty. Don’t get stuck in slow moving queues.
- Wear a mask, evident when I hear the person in the toilet next to me gagging and retching at the smell, only to exit a few moments later in a rather uncontrolled and desperate nature gasping for air.
- Make sure you’ve done your business before 0845 if starting in the first 4 waves as the start is about a 15 min walk from the athletes village.
Charities collect old clothes and Berlin prides itself on being environmentally friendly. If you don’t need a foil blanket, don’t take it, if you do, they have drop of places where they can be recycled later.
You also have the choice of bag check or poncho. Now New York is definitely a poncho, because it’s a quicker exit. Berlin? Definitely 100% without doubt a checked bag. It’s so organised and is right next to the ponchos. The ponchos flap about and don’t stay done up and are quite frankly a pain. You get a goody bag with water and snacks which is quite generous. Upon exiting many enjoy a beer and picnic in nearby parks others head straight for the tube, personally I’m an advocate of moving. Let the muscles relax, adapt to slower movement and let them settle. So if feeling good, walk. There are some great little markets about and with the city so quiet it’s an opportunity to get some lovely photos of places that would normally be quite busy.
Berlin Marathon is part of the Abbott World Majors series. It is therefore quite expensive to enter. You can at the time at entry just pay for your entry fee, or pay for add-ons including a finishers T-shirt (yes it’s not given to you), jacket, timing chips and various other bits.
The finishers medal always has a famous or well known marathon runner on one side. This year it was Eliud Kipchog. Who just happened to running with us, won it and broke the record! So pretty chuffed with this medal.
Entry can be obtained by running travel companies like traveling Fit, running for charities, qualifying (Berlin is a tough one) and through a ballot system. I was fortunate enough to get accepted through the ballot.
Event profile: Bonnie Davies