Berlin Marathon

I signed up for the Berlin Marathon almost a year ago when the lottery opened. My original plan was to just run one marathon, the one in Copenhagen but why not throw my hat in the Berlin Marathon lottery for a chance to run with the absolute elite? So I got in. That and the Chicago Marathon. And then signed up for a few more races as you’ve probably noticed. So when the date came for me to run this race, I wasn’t so psyched anymore. Especially since I ran such a bad time in Newcastle the week before and then came down with a cold immediately after. Expectations were low.

I flew in to Berlin and quickly got to the city center and my hostel where I quickly fell asleep, slightly sick still. The next day I spent on getting my race bib. The expo was huge and it was really cool to see so many people from all over the world. Of course the big news was Kipchoge’s intention of beating the world record. After getting my race number I took a stroll around central Berlin before meeting up with a friend I met in Nepal. After getting burgers and catching up, I went back to the hostel to relax and hopefully get a bit healthier before the race.

Race information

Goals

  • Finish – Completed
  • Under 5 hours – So close!

Pictures

Splits

  • 5K – 00:33:19
  • 10K – 01:06:49
  • 15K – 01:40:45
  • 20K – 02:14:35
  • 21.1K – 02:21:46
  • 25K – 02:49:09
  • 30K – 03:24:44
  • 35K – 04:02:13
  • 40K – 04:42:32
  • 42.2K – 05:00:55

Training

Apart from a bad race in Newcastle due to jetlag, lack of sleep and illness, it was just about getting healthy again for me.

Pre-race

I woke up early and got some bread with chocolate. It’s probably not the best strategy but it worked and was quick. Most of the stores were also closed so buying the bread the day before was probably a good idea. I walked to the start area at the Bundestag and checked my stuff in. Luckily it was nice and warm in the sun and I could warm up a bit and try and find a toilet. There were long queues for toilets but luckily the queues moved quickly enough and with the faster heats starting 20-40 minutes before my heat, the toilet situation was not as bad as some other races.

I got into the heat where I stretched out and warmed up before we started.

Race

I started out really well. I actually thought that I was going very well, especially looking at the split times I was getting. The first 5K went by a bit faster due to the excitement but I managed to find my legs and my pace after 10K. 

The course was fast. As in record breaking fast! I completely understand why the elite comes to Berlin to beat the record every year as it’s extremely flat, quite shaded and good surfaces. It also helps that every single meter of the course was supported by a great crowd. I felt like I was going to beat my own personal record, even while recovering from a cold. Then it happened.

At around the 20K mark I felt every muscle in my body screaming. Just pain. And I didn’t feel like I had pushed it that much but I think the cold might have had a finger in this. So I pushed it a bit more. And for a while I kept a nice pace before unraveling completely at 25K. 

I struggled on for a while, thinking “just 5 kilometers more and then I can walk a bit at the water station”. It was also the time where I saw signs that said that a new world record had been set, but I just had to focus on finishing my own race. At 40K I had to walk. Just to Unter den Linden at least. Then I walked down the avenue as well before determining to run to the finish line and stay under 5 hours. It was just too late at that time but I was relieved nonetheless to finish.

Post-race

I got my medal, then the post-race food and drinks and picked up my bag. I went back to the hostel, got some food and then went to the airport where I think everyone was wearing the medal. While the pain of walking was bad, it was worth it when I thought of my bed waiting for me at home!

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