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This week, we’re all about the beautiful city of Berlin. The German capital is a European tourist hotspot, buzzing with history, culture and more. It is an undeniable bucket-list destination for any keen traveller. And, what’s more, it’s home to some of the greatest running races on the planet, the world record breaking BMW Berlin Marathon and the Generali Berlin Half.
A half marathon offers the perfect sightseeing/ running balance for anyone wanting to enjoy an active city break. The Generali Berlin Half Marathon takes runners through the heart of one of Europe’s major and most historic cities. Sports Tours International’s well placed hotels mean that, while you’re there, you’ll be in the perfect position to discover the best of the city in your down time too.
In addition to helping our customers experience the active holiday of a lifetime, many of our team enjoy lacing up their own trainers and experiencing the world’s best races for themselves. This makes them uniquely qualified to pass on any insider knowledge, hints and tips.
Today, we chatted to Joe, one of our running reps, about his experience running the Generali Berlin Half Marathon.
The day started with a short train ride to the Berlin Central Station. From there, it’s just a short 10 minute walk to the start area which was ideally situated near the Reichstag.
At the start, runners enter through the main entrance along with the inline skaters. The skaters complete the same route as the runners, they just start 20 minutes earlier. The bag drops were really well located, close to the start line. The set up of the start corals was A (for the elites) then B, C, D, E. This was also very well sign posted and easy to navigate.
The starting bang went just after 10am. Our half marathon journey around the beautiful city of Berlin began. The first major monument we passed was the famous Victory Column, which provided an excellent photo opportunity.
The route then took us towards the beautiful area of Charlottenburg at the 7km mark. This borough is known for its elegant pre-war buildings, high-end boutiques, and of course the iconic Charlottenburg Palace. Next, you head towards the Kaiser Wilhelm and the zoo garden district of Berlin. At the 15km mark you get to pass the iconic Checkpoint Charlie This is one of Berlin’s most famous and popular landmarks. The best known of the crossing points between East Berlin and West Berlin, it became a symbol of the Cold War, and separation of the two sides of the city.
The weather in Berlin, the year I ran, was really good. Temperatures had risen above 20 degrees by the middle of the day. Fortunately, the organisers were very efficient and provided additional water, to keep all of the runners hydrated. Coming towards the end of the route, we ran through the government area of Berlin. Here you will find the home of the many foreign embassies, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial and the famous Brandenburg Gate.
“It’s a fascinating feeling running through the iconic Brandenburg Gate on the home straight of the route. The crowds are packed either side of the road in their thousands which creates a brilliant atmosphere to encourage people to give it one last push to the finish line. This really is a spectacular running experience and a brilliant way to finish the route.”
Berlin is a city that is famous for its fast running courses. The Marathon World Record has been set in Berlin eight times for men and three times for women. The Genarali Berlin Half Marathon lived up to Berlin’s reputation. The route itself was very flat and especially fast given the favourable weather.
Having run several marathons and a fair few halves myself, I have to say that finishing just past the Brandenburg gate bridge is one of the most iconic finishes in the world. The finish area after the race was really special. There was plenty of support, brilliant medals, and non alcoholic fruity beer for everyone to enjoy. I would definitely recommend this race. Its also a great way of seeing the many sights of Berlin.
Along with the United Airlines NYC Half, the Generali Berlin Half Marathon is right up there as my favourite half marathon. This one is a must do for all runners who like running with a fantastic crowd atmosphere.
It was also great to hear that many of our runners enjoyed the race, with some even managing to secure a half marathon PB! I hope to see even more runners in Berlin in the future!
At Sports Tours International we’re proud to offer entries and various travel packages to both the Generali Berlin Half and the BMW Berlin Marathon this year. So, whatever your running goals, and however you want to enjoy Berlin, we have the perfect race and financially protected travel package for you.
For more information, you can contact the team on Tel: +44 (0) 161 703 8161 or via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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