25th September 2016
This year saw three Bedford Harriers run at the Berlin marathon, Mark Tinkler, Neil Loader and myself. This is a fast flat course but with a field comparable to London so itís fair to say that it is a busy race. It is also a ballot entry race now so not as easy to get into as a few years ago. The expo had moved this year to a more central location so this made for a much easier number pick up. We were staying at the Pestana hotel which is about a 20 minute walk to the baggage area.
The race starts in 3 waves. It was already pretty warm on the start line and only got warmer! The support round the route was pretty constant with some great bands and very enthusiastic supporters. I personally did not like the water in plastic cups as they became very slippy underfoot. There were fire engines with hoses going so some welcome showers to cool off in. The course follows the main streets of Berlin. The final turn towards the Brandenburg gate is quite amazing and as you pass under it, the finish line is then in sight. If you are spectating, it is possible to get extremely close to the finish line to watch the winners and everyone else finish.
Iím pleased to report that we all finished the race. Neil Loader ran a fantastic race to achieve a sub 3 hour time. Mark did 3 hours 35 and I, despite a calf pull at 7 miles which then tore very painfully at 25 miles, managed 4 hrs 04. Our support crew of Neilís wife Julie and Neil Lovesey met us at the very well organised meet up area. It was also great to meet up with Friederike Schoeps who had travelled up from Bonn and to hang out with David Sheffield from Colworth Striders who ran a PB of 3 hrs 40.
The city obviously has a lot of history and although you can see some of this on the race route, it is worth staying an extra day to visit some of the interesting landmarks. If anyone is thinking of doing this race in future, feel free to contact me for further practical information.