If you ever want to run a marathon major pick Berlin. It is just fantastic.
I headed out to Berlin early doors on Saturday arriving mid morning. I took a taxi straight to the exhibition with Joe and Olwyn Dunne from Crusaders. Joe having encyclopedic knowledge of everything gave a very interesting history lesson on the way, which included the fact that the exhibition was in a building that was at one stage the biggest building in the world. I had recently read a race report from Valerie Fogarty and had picked up lots of tips on getting your number and getting to the race efficiently and had taken notes.
Then it was off to find the hotel trying to navigate the U and S Bahn systems. I had an address and knew it was close to the Ostbanhof. I'm not joking when I say it took 45 minutes searching for it before I found it. It was down a poky side street in a real dodgy area of town. I was shocked when it turned out to be brand new and 4 star. However I got an even greater shock when I went to room to realise this must be one of those boutique fetish joints. Enough said.
Off I went to check out a few of the sights (I have been in Berlin a couple of times so knew my way around fairly well). First up was the Brandenburg Gate. This had been transformed into "Marathon Village" and there were several races on. First up was a kids race who got the opportunity to run the last couple of K of the marathon. There was a huge crowd there and when a group of special needs kids came past with their carers/parents or siblings there wasn't a dry eye in the house and the biggest cheer you would ever hear. It was real lump in the throat stuff.
Next up was a inline skating marathon. This was awesome and the speed was absolutely incredible.
I headed off to get something to eat and back to enjoy the hotel.
Checking my notes from Valerie's race report again I was up and at it early the next day. With great
German efficiency everyone arrived for the short walk to the entrance. It was a bit eerie with steam rising off the grass and the most beautiful skies. After dropping off the baggage it was off to
Then we were off. I was only 1km into the race when I saw a Crusaders vest ahead of me. I didn't
The music enroute was fantastic with many many bands. The support was also fantastic. Not quite as many people as London or New York but never the less great. The only downside for me was the water stations which were carnage as you waded through 300m of plastic cups. No bottles. The guys at the front wouldn't have had to deal with this.
I noticed that there seemed to be half of Demark either running or supporting. I think it is a national obligation in Denmark to wear national colours and as many flags as possible. The Crusaders top looked a bit Danish and I reaped the benefit of much extra support. The Irish were also out in numbers with many shouting me on.
I stayed with the 3:45 pacer to half way but knew he was going too slow as we both came in half way at 1:59 to be joined by the 4hr pacers immediately (on plan). The 3:45 guy gave up soon after. I stayed with the 4hr pacer through 29km when disaster struck. I had noticed that one of the sponsors "Erdinger" had a number of runners running in costume (8 ft sponge beer bottles). There was one in the group with us. Then all of a sudden the beer bottle swerved across me and I bounced off his sponge suit and ended up in the cobbles.
I kept a slow but steady pace from then on deciding just to enjoy the atmosphere. It was also hot and getting hotter and my leg hurt like hell.
I limped across the line and picked up a well deserved medal. Phew!!! 4:28 would have been a lot better if it wasnt for that Erdinger bottle.
I met up with the Crusaders in the "Oscar Wilde" and Stephen Mullins dropped in on the way to the airport. It was great fun recounting the various good and bad stories from the day.
O yes and it was pretty cool to be in the race where the world record went.
|Kimoto (2:02:57 world record)|
Garmin stats for the day.