It’s Saturday, the day before the race. I’m on my way to the Expo to obtain my start number for the Berlin Marathon 2017. I’m excited and looking forward to the race tomorrow.
The expo is really big, eight halls with all kinds of running gear and there are lots of people. The first hall I enter is where I get my start number and there is strangely enough no queue at all. It only takes me about five minutes to get my munber (33544) and a chip. I walk around the expo, but there’s so many people so I keep it to a short look around.
Now I have my number and a chip. Then I’ll enjoy the rest of the day in Berlin.
Sunday morning – race day
Sunday starts early, the alarm clock is set for 6 AM, and after a quick shower, the breakfast buffet is waiting. I really need to eat so my body has fuel for the hard work it’s going through today. There are a lot of runners already at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. All of them are eating white bread and bananas and drinking coffee and juice. I can clearly see that I’m not the only one whos excited about todays race.
At eight o’clock we walk to the start area at Brandenburger Tor. There is a morning mist hanging over the city and there’s this particular sense of marathon morning in the air. There are a lot of runners on their way. We take the u-bahn to Postdammer Platz and walk from there, we approach the start area and cross the finish line that pass through the Brandenburg Gate. I look forward to be running in a short while.
At the entrance to the start area, I say goodbye to my girlfriend, who can’t go further. But she will be along the route and cheer on. The start is closing in.
I have set my goal for approx. four hours and therefore I’m set to start in Block G. There are really many many runners. More than 40.000 runners are participating to day. I locate Block G and now there’s only a half hour to the start.
The runners are send on in sections and my start block is to be send on at 9:35.
The race is launched and it’s a bit difficult to get in to my personal pace because there’s lots of people around me and they are all running in very different paces. On the other hand though, the atmosphere is exalted. The runners all have big smiles on their faces. Oh well – it’s early on in the race 🙂 There are a lot of spectators even though the weather is not showing itself in the most favorable light. On the route I meet many Danish runners, whom in turn also has generated several Danish spectators.
I’m wearing a red Denmark running shirt. I thought it would give me a little extra support from Danish spectators, and it really did. A couple of kids shout to me: “Come on Denmark”, and we exchange high-fives and I continue with the race with a big smile on my face. There’s also support and recognition amongst the other Danish runners .
At eight km I meet my cheering girlfriend for the first time, it’s great with the support. At 15 km the field begins to loosen up and finally I can run in my own pace. There are more and more spectators cheering on as the day progresses. There are lots of fun during the run. A lot of bands and drummers, runners who are dressed in fancy, odd and crazy outfits. I see four people wearing a caterpillar costume – strange. Everything around me is a part of making this a fantastic race.
At 19 km I meet my girlfriend again. I’m feeling fine and really happy to see her again. We hug and agree to meet up again at 40 km. There are a lot of hydration zones and the closer I get to the finish line, the more zones. I drink a little bit of water at most hydration zones. Several of the zones also have fruit, but I don’t like to eat during a race. I run past a fire truck which splashes water over the runners as they run past. After 33 km we approach Kurfürstendamm and the race enters into the final part. At 35 km I pass two Danes, a mother and daughter I think. They are getting low on energy too, I slow down as I pass by and encourage them not to give up, it’s almost over. It seems to me, that the pair is done with the race, but I think they get up and run again. I am still quite well-running, in fact. My pace is not quite reaching my goal, it might be why my legs aren’t hurting yet.
At 40 km I sense a fatigue sneaking up on me. I look in the crowd and there suddenly… there’s my girlfriend. It is so nice to see her, I get a kiss and I’m so ready to run the last two km. I run around the corner and onto Unter den Linden, the racespeaker bellows along with the music over the square. I get shivers as I run through the Brandenburg Gate and pass the blue finish line.
My finish time is four hours and 14 minutes, a little below my goal. But that’s just fine, I’m not here to set a PR but to get a nice running experience and that’s exactly what I’ve got. A great experience, a really nice event and many lovely people in wonderful Berlin.
Thanks for now.