The Berlin marathon is everything it’s cracked up to be in short. It has a reputation for being the world’s fastest marathon - I think something like six of the last 11 world marathon records have been broken in Berlin and this year was no different with Wilson Kipsang taking a huge 15 seconds off the previous world record of 2:03:38 and lowering it to 2:03.23. But for those mere mortals (the other 35 thousand of us who were running) on this barmy crisp Sunday morning through the streets of Berlin, it was equally fast.
The course is extremely flat with wide cornering and a very logically thought out course, so it’s easy to see why thousands and thousands of people flock here each year to try and score a PB and why the race is so highly rated. It's very well organised with typical Germanic precision; everything from the layout of the fuel stations (which contained water, sports drinks, hot tea, fruit, pretzels), through to the race village HQ - which was large with plenty of room to move around in. An extra bonus and a personal favourtie of mine was that they served alcohol-free beer at the end, which tastes amazing but given that you’re extremely tired, you don't have to put up with being drunk either.
The start pens were extremely well put together, they staggered 35 thousand people over three waves and about 20 minutes and there was very little congestion on the course as a result.
Berlin as a city is perfect for a city break so if you’re a destination runner who likes going running races and then seeing the sights afterwards, then this is the perfect race for you. It is the land of bars, clubs, restaurants, outdoor cafes on wide pavements but there is also plenty of history as well so ample monuments, museums, galleries and things to go and see and the people are extremely friendly. The ancient antipathy between the Germans and the English obviously brought about by the world wars just seems to be non-existent. The Germans are extremely welcoming and friendly so overall it’s definitely a race worth your consideration next Autumn.