A FAIRY TALE IN NEW YORK – FINISHING 26 MILES WITH A PROPOSAL
THE WINNER OF OUR EXCLUSIVE COMPETITION WITH THE RUNNING CHANNEL IS SET TO CONQUER THE 2024 NEW YORK MARATHON!
HOW TO TRAIN FOR YOUR SPRING MARATHON DURING THE WINTER MONTHS: WITH OUR AMBASSADORS!
The BMW Berlin Marathon is big, there’s no doubt about that. The race featured a staggering 44,000 runners in 2018, and is one of only four marathons, in the world, with more than 40,000 finishers (the others being New York City, Chicago, and Paris). This makes Berlin one of the most popular mass participation running events in the world. The race is also one of the, ever sought after, Abbott World Marathon Majors. Attracting the fastest elite runners, from across the globe, each year, in their bid to win that years Championship. In recent years, the BMW Berlin Marathon has cemented its reputation as a blistering fast course, with 6 of the 10 fastest recorded marathon times coming from the German Capital, and no less than 11 World Records (both men’s and women’s) being set there.
The beginnings of the Berlin Marathon were however much more humble. The first edition was held in 1974, with just 286 starters, and less than 250 finishing the race. It was known as the‘1st Berlin People’s Marathon’ and was founded by local baker Horst Milde, and took place in the Grunewald forest on the outskirts of Berlin. Not then the fiercely contested title it is now, the male winner took the title in 2:44:53, and on the women’s side, there were just 10 competitors, and 3:22:01 was enough to win the day.
Due to Horst’s continued efforts, the Berlin Marathon saw a change of venue in 1981. It had not been an easy feat. “Roads are for cars only – not for runners.” He was told at a meeting with police chiefs, when he first asked about blocking the roads for the runners.The new city road race was started in front of the Reichstag and finished on Kurfürstendamm. It was Britain’s Ian Ray who won that first city edition in a time of 2:15:41. This change of venue saw the start of the Berlin Marathon’s rise in popularity, as numbers flew from 3,486 (1981) to over 10000 (11,814 in 1985).
At the 25th edition of the Berlin Marathon in 1998 a record of 27,621 runners signed up to run the landmark edition of the event. Ronaldo da Costa, a Brazilian runner from a poor family, turned up the the event as a relative unknown (at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, he competed in the 10000 metres, finishing an unremarkable 16th, and, in 1997, he placed fifth in his first attempt at the Berlin Marathon). However in 1998 he ran an earth shattering 2:06:05. This performance crowned the anniversary event as it smashed the world record, which had stood for 10 years, by almost a minute, and became the first runner to average over 20 km/h over the marathon distance. Overnight he became a national hero, and is to date,the only South American, male or female, to hold a world marathon record.
Over the following few years records, in both the men’s and women’s marathon, came crashing down at Berlin. Tegla Loroupe of Kenya, beat her own best time, to set a new women’s record of 2:20:43 in 1999. In 2001 over half of the population of Japan tuned in to watch the broadcast of Naoko Takahashi, as she became the first woman to run a sub 2:20 marathon (2:19:46). This race, following the events of 11/9/2001, again showed the unifying power of running in Berlin. At the start, runners held up banners reading, “United we Run“, and showing the symbols of both the New York and Berlin Marathon.
Since 2003 no less than 7 world record times have been set in the German Capital, including 2 by the Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie. The 2018 edition of the Berlin Marathon shocked the world, as Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge powered to a new world record in a jaw dropping 2:01:39. He ran with the most evenly paced marathon splits ever recorded (just 19 seconds separating his slowest 5k 14:37 and his fastest 14:18) and the Guardian claimed it would be “no surprise if his record stood for a generation”.
However if the ground breaking history of the race has taught us anything its that, on the last weekend of September ANYTHING can happen in Berlin, and with runners, like Kipchoge, pushing ever closer to the mythical ‘sub 2’ marathon, the fast and furious Berlin course will definitely be one to watch in 2019!
The Berlin Marathon 2019 will take place on 29th September 2019. The 2020 event will be held on 27 September. You can sign up to our 2020 Berlin Marathon Waitlist HERE!
Official tour partner for the biggest races on the planet