Berlin Marathon: 42km Made Simple
by Ben Cameron.
What else would you expect in Germany? Fast, flat and full of history, the Berlin Marathon is a race that should be on every runners bucket list.
Things are already running smoothly when you arrive at the Race Expo, as number and pre-ordered kit are ready to be collected at one of the world's largest buildings.
Saturday provides a unique chance to witness something you'll only see in Berlin: the In-Line Skating Marathon. That's right! It's truly a site to behold. At first I thought it might be a good laugh and I could witness a few spills. As it turns out, it is one of the highlights of the weekend as the athletes race by at amazing speeds and closely resemble a "Tour de France" peloton on skates. Potsdamer Platz is the best vantage point for spectators.
The Marathon start is ideally located in the Berlin's Tiergarten, allowing for easy access to start zones from a variety of different city entry points. It also gives you the chance to warm up if you're on the serious side of Marathon crazy. The course is flat and very wide, so be careful to stick to the "blue line" as much as possible. Berlin is a great place to run a PB (personal best), but err too far from the shortest route and you can cover a lot of extra metres. My advice is to follow the blue line.
There's history all along the race route, pace your run well and you can enjoy it all, but nothing will top the feeling you get with 600 metres to go when you take a sharp left and see the Brandenburg Gates. The crowd and music kick in and so do the goose bumps. Best of all, you can have a free beer in your hand minutes after the race! What a way to kick start Oktoberfest!
- Prepare well and take advantage of the fast course for a new Personal Best. Plenty of World Records have been run here in recent years.
- Do a leisurely bike ride post Marathon and visit some of Berlin's historic sites. This is a great way to flush out your tired legs after a race.
- Monkey Bar on top of 25 Hours Hotel is a cool place to have a "few" post race drinks and compare "war" stories.