BERLIN MARATHON – RACE REPORT
The bucket list. Many of us have one. The contents vary. There’s an entry in ours called ‘Complete the World Marathon Majors’. After our trip to Berlin that entry is now 50% complete. Read on for our story
Drew + Paul + Alison are onto WMM #3 following Tokyo (2014) and New York (2015). We’re joined by Lisa who’s succumbed to the mystery and intrigue of the international marathon, following her debut at Queenstown. We’re joined by Vanessa (Paul’s other half) and we all arrive in Berlin with a good dose of jetlag, some 32 hours after departure. Our preparation this year was pretty good, with a decent training base and a few good long runs. We are feeling optimistic, but all this talk of world record attempts has us nervous with the pressure to perform!
Guten Tag, we are in Berlin!
Thanks Qatar for your nice new plane but not sure why you parked at the arse end of the airport! We eventually get through Customs, make our way to the hotel and get checked in, then hit the marathon expo for our bib collection and some merchandise.
Operation #GETSOMEMERCH goes into overdrive and once again we all blow silly amounts of cash on anything with Berlin Marathon written on it. We love merch!!! We love merch!!! So much merch, Drew loses his shizzle. Then we hit a local restaurant for a schnitzel and beer, before returning to the hotel and collapsing in a jetlag-included coma.
Hit the Road
OK peeps, we’re here to run so let’s kick off with a gentle training session to acclimatise.
Lee and the team at Travelling Fit have done a cracking job once again, there are about 120 of us from all over Australia staying at the hotel. A good dose of Australiana is present with a blow-up Kangaroo. As you do.
A little bit of tourist promo is warranted before we get into the serious side of the run. We see some pretty amazing parts of this city, and all wish we had a bit more time here than the whirlwind marathon visit.
There have been some remarks made about the appropriateness of our race preparation. We enjoy Berlin and make sure that we sample all the city has to offer. Witness exhibit A the “large burger” that we enjoy for lunch on Friday from KaDeWe. That evening we chase it up with a five-hour bike tour that includes a three-course meal, each one eaten at a different restaurant. Excellent race prep, we are sure!
Time to Run
Race day is here. A leisurely 9:15am race start means breakfast in the hotel and a chance to review our race strategies. Most of them seemed to be focused on the warmer weather, with a top forecast in the low 20’s, it was to be a warmer run than we’d had over recent months in the Canberra winter. We make our way to the start village with the other Travelling Fit runners, wearing our rather alluring and fetching running tops. Paul and Drew are in wave 1 (but separate start corrals) with Lisa and Alison in wave 2 (also separate corrals). It gets real very quickly…the atmosphere is electric and this is one large field! 43,000 runners from across the globe, lined up down the main straight of the Tiergarten, pointing toward the Siegessäule or Victory Column.
We are Go!
The gun goes…we’re off!!! The balloons are away, the music is pumping and we hear the sound of hundreds of Garmins being started in unison. Oh and 42.2km to go…eeek.
It’s flat. Very flat. Wide roads with plenty of space. Ideal PB territory!
It’s also scenic, with a course that meanders throughout East and West Berlin, passing through cityscape and into neighbourhoods. There are bands playing, crowds cheering and no shortage of spectators. At times it feels like a longer version of the City2Surf, with the festive atmosphere and happy vibe. It is pretty warm! The sun is out and the temperature rises, so by the 30km mark it’s becoming a challenge to take on enough fluids to keep the body running well. The course is littered with showers (some small, some large courtesy of the local fire trucks!) which we run through to keep cool
Geez marathons never get easier, do they? As an aside there was a guy in the Travelling Fit group who’d run 400+ marathons. WTF? Paul and Drew interrogated him over dinner as to how that was possible. Turns out it is and he’s legit!!! He even did one of those ’50 marathons in 50 states’ in the USA. But even he said they don’t get easier, it’s just that you know what to expect. Reassuring, hey? So we’re all home and there is not a PB in sight…but what a cracking great run that was!
- Paul – went out pretty hard with a 1:26:41 first half, but then found it tough going and lamented his lack of preparation! He came home with a very credible 3:04:57. Nice work!
- Drew – went out at sub-PB pace for the first half then blew up at the 22km point. He crawled the last 10km home with a 3:40:34 which is his slowest marathon to date. But he loved it!
- Lisa – in excellent form and with some good training under her belt, she held her pace throughout the run and cruised home with a 3:38:42. Damn good effort Lisa, well done!
- Alison – a good run from Al who also held her pace well, coming home with a 3:56:33 to finish well inside the four-hour mark. Great job Al, love your work!
Hurrah, thank @#$% that’s done!!!!!!!!!
The World Record
So we were pretty lucky to be in Berlin the day that Eliud Kipchoge smashed the Marathon World Record. He finished in a time of 2:01:39 and took a massive one minute and 18 seconds off the previous time. It was amazing to come across the finish line and be greeted by a German dude excitedly waving a hastily-made placard showing the new world record!!! There was a real buzz about the place afterwards. Vanessa was lucky enough to see him come through the Brandenburg Gate just before the finish. If you haven’t seen his splits, they’re worth looking up. Any guy that can run at 2:53 per km pace for two hours deserves a world record. Wow – so impressive. As an aside we did see him out on a training run on the Friday, along with his other Kenyan buddies. We all pulled over and cheered them past
It’s a Wrap!
Another one done!
Paul, Drew and Alison are now halfway through our World Marathon Majors journey. What’s left?
- London – it’s hard to get into but we’ve all entered the ballot for 2019. We find out this month.
- Boston – the hardest to get into, with a tough qualifying system. Maybe that’ll be 2020.
- Chicago – probably after the other two, not sure just yet.
Assuming the bodies hold up and our husbands/wives/partners continue to support our WMM goal, we should have them done in the next few years.
Keep an eye out for our next race report as the journey continues….