Berlin Marathon, 27 September 2015
When you look at the statistics, the history and the tradition, the BMW Berlin Marathon really stacks up. Berlin is unquestionably the fastest marathon in the world and, having heard a recent presentation by race director Mark Milde, it doesn’t happen by accident! Mark was a guest speaker at the recent AIMS Conference in Penang and he went through the process of what goes into making Berlin the fastest course in the world.
Since its start in 1974 with just 286 entrants, the Berlin Marathon has grown to become one of the six World Marathon Majors (along with New York, Chicago, Boston, London and Tokyo). There have been 10 world records in Berlin - six of them in the past 13 years. Paul Tergat started the avalanche in 2003 when he ran 2:04:55 – since then the records have continued to tumble. The great Haile Gebrselassie took 29 seconds off the record in 2007, with his 2:04:26, only to return a year later to be the first runner under 2:04 with his 2:03:59. Nearly a minute off the world record in just two years!
Patrick Macau waited until 2011 to run 2:03:38, with Wilson Kipsang running 2:03:23 in 2013. Then in 2014, Dennis Kimetto ran a blistering 2:02:57 to become the first man to run a sub-3hr marathon. Coincidentally, on the three occasions when a time barrier has been broken at the Berlin Marathon it has happened on the 28th of September (2:05 in 2003, 2:04 in 2008, 2:03 in 2014).
It was actually the women who set the early pace in Berlin with three world records by 2001. In 2001 Naoko Takahashi became the first woman to break 2:20 with her time of 2:19:46, a year after winning the women’s marathon at the Sydney Olympics.
Here in Australia, you can’t mention the Berlin Marathon without mentioning Steve Moneghetti. Mona has remained a favourite son in Berlin – he ran the first sub 2:10 in Berlin when he won in 1990 in 2:08:16. That was the fastest time in the world in 1990, and remains the fastest time by an Australian on a loop course. This was also the year that 25,000 runners ran through the Brandenburg Gate for the first time, a lot of them with tears in their eyes. This year the Australian connection continues with Michael Shelley running.
In addition to the marathon, there is also a Breakfast Run on Saturday morning from the Schloss Charlottenburg towards the Olympic Stadium. This is free for all participants of the Berlin Marathon.
In and Around
Berlin is known for its history, culture, art, architecture and fabulous night life (after the marathon, of course!). There is also Schloss Charlottenburg, Alexanderplatz, the Berlin Cathedral, museums, art galleries, night clubs, restaurants, famous landmarks….. there is no shortage of things to do in this vibrant, friendly city.
Visit the Berlin Wall, which although it was torn down in November 1989, it still leaves its mark on Berlin’s character. For those interested in (Cold) war nostalgia, there are a range of Underground Tours available. The Holocaust Memorial is one of the more controversial attractions in the city. And if we’re going to talk Germany, you have to include beer and most of the good ones come from Bavaria!. There’s also the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, walking tours, the Reichstag (home of the German Parliament), street-art workshops, murals and many opportunities to take advantage of the seemingly never ending options when it comes to night life.
Further afield, there are day tours available in the immediate area or you might consider hitting the highway (or back roads) and treat yourself to a drive along the Romantic Road, a trip along the Rhine or a visit over the border to Prague.
Daily flights from Australia are available with the major carriers.
How to Enter
RunFun Travel is an Official Travel Partner for the Berlin Marathon (the 2015 event has sold out). The 2016 Berlin Marathon will be held on 25 September and deposits are now being accepted. Entries are available online for a short period of time and sell out quickly, as do entries held by Travel Partners.
About Run Fun Travel
RunFun Travel is owned and managed by Fran Seton with support from her husband Dave Cundy. The business specialises in bringing together Fran and Dave’s two passions of marathon running and travel. Having been involved in running and marathons for over 30 years, they have contacts all over the world. It’s these contacts that enable them to bring new events to runners and this is what sets RunFun Travel apart . As well as being part of the travel industry, they are part of the worldwide running industry.
They have organised, run in and worked with marathons around the world – they know what runners want from an event and, more importantly, they are well placed to deliver it. While you do the training, they will do the organising to ensure your running experience delivers when it counts.
Click here for RunFun Travel website