One of the top five running events in the world today, the Berlin Marathon’s official distance of 42.195 kilometers is also one of the fastest and well-loved.
Popular with professional athletes and amateur runners alike, it takes place on the last weekend in September every year and draws in over 40,000 runners on average and over a million spectators turn out to cheer on the competitors.
Along with its World Marathon Major partner cities Boston, London, Chicago and New York, Berlin is known for its flat running profile and the enthusiastic crowds who cheer on the participants. It first took place on 13 October 1974 with a mere 284 runners representing only four nations. Now up to 60,000 runners from over 100 countries take part. It was here, by the way, where running sensation Haile Gebrselassie set a new marathon record in 2008.
Divided as it is into a two day series of events, the Berlin Marathon is not just for runners, either. Nearly 10,000 inline skaters compete on the day before the actual running event and power walkers, wheelchair and hand bikers, even children, take part in the fun and the competition, too.
Starting at Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate, the runners pass through 10 city districts including Charlottenburg, Tiergarten, Moabit, Mitte and Friedrichshain and always loop a full circle to finish up at the gate again. With the huge mass of spectators lining the route every year, and live music, sumptuous food and street festival atmosphere spread out across 50 locations within the city during the racing festivities, it is easy to see why the Berlin Marathon is famous for the motivational influence it has on runners – and the other guests alike.
And running by Berlin’s many notable landmarks must also have its positive effects, as well. Whether it’s the Reichstag or the Television Tower on Alexanderplatz or the Berliner Dom itself, this course is an ideal one, whether you will be running your first marathon or coming back as a seasoned marathon runner looking for your next personal best. Fast, flat, furious and fun, the Berlin Marathon is an unforgettable experience for anyone who takes part in it.