Race Report: Berlin Marathon
Guest post by Sarah Crandon
After talking about it at length, me and my mate Ellie finally took the plunge and entered our first marathon, starting off with a biggie – time to tackle the Berlin Marathon 2012.
All race numbers, chip timers etc were to be collected at the Expo from two days before the event. Organisation of the race itself was great – loads of volunteers to ask for info and all bag areas, facilities and starting pens were well signposted. It was all straight forward and hassle free.
Apart from having to wait almost AN HOUR outside the expo, during which time no one was let in, the expo was fine. Collecting race numbers was quick once you were in and there were some food stalls, as well as the usual running kit and nutrition stands. And lots of alcohol free beer… I would recommend getting there early so you don’t have to wait so long to get in or going on the Friday rather than the Saturday if you’re around.
Not too far from the Brandenburg gate which was a rather impressive start. We scouted it out the day before which made us feel loads better and put our minds at rest, but it was easy to find. The atmosphere at the start was really buzzing and fun too. They also gave you a bin-liner like blue vest to wear to stop you getting too cold and released loads of balloons just before the start.
The route was great! It’s a very flat course and I only really noticed two very small inclines. It was all pretty central so you got to see lots of the tourist sights on the way round and a lot of the route ran through pretty tree lined streets, which was good for some shade from the sun. You also had a lot of space whilst running and while some parts were busier than others, it was never too overly congested.
The course is in km which threw us a little but we knew this going in. The markers were not massively clear though, you often had to really look out for them and not every km was marked which was annoying. I didn’t see one toilet on the route which I think could be improved on, but then I wasn’t really looking out for one.
As it was so central, there were people lining pretty much the whole route which was great and exactly what we wanted from our first marathon. The crowds were huge at certain points and everyone really cheered you on, but were quite thin at other points. This meant that you could spot your supporters a little easier though. There were also bands and music at various points so the atmosphere was great. The approach to the finish line has stadium seating with very loud crowds cheering you all on, which made you feel like a true pro in the lead up to the finish.
On Route Drinks and Snacks
The first water station scared the bejesus out of me! The noise of the cups and the wet road made me think I was going to go flying but I got used to them. They were well positioned through the route, and they also offered tea and bananas at some, with separate stands for gels later on in the course.
Official T Shirt
NONE! Nadda, zilch, keine! Is it too much to expect a race shirt from one of the big 5 marathons?! Apparently so! We got ourselves a top from the Adidas shop the next day but it was such a shame. We did get a wrist band which they engraved your time on the following day which was pretty good but not a massive compensation.
Talking of clothing, there were very few charity vests on people running and hardly anyone in fancy dress, so quite different from the London Marathon.
A German flag ribbon, with a heavy medal bearing the Brandenburg gate on one side and the world record holder on the other. I LOVE it. It could be hideous and I’d still love it though – I ran a freakin marathon!
Good! After the finish line we were filtered through to get a medal and there were lots of first aiders on hand. Excellent organisation for collecting bags and as the start and finish lines are really near each other it made it really hassle free. As well as a well stocked bag of food (biscuits, banana, fruit, water etc) the Germans also give you alcohol free beer at the finish which was amazing!
Marks out of 10: 8/10 – this would definitely be a 9 if we’d had a t-shirt.
I would definitely recommend running Berlin.