Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon

( 35 reviews )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Berlin,
  • September
  • 26.2 miles/Marathon
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

Javier Mere

Chicago, Illinois, United States
9 6
"Berlin Marathon"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Javier Mere's thoughts:

Berlin is another one of the World Majors - that said, the race does not disappoint. It's known to be a fast course and for me it was, I ended with a PR! Not only did I, but some of my friends that also ran also PR'ed!

I have the goal of running all 6 majors and this was numero 5. I found Berlin to be as flat or flatter than Chicago and to have more faster people than Chicago, and by this I mean not the winning time, but if you're aiming to run 2:30, 2:40 or 3:00, I think it's more likely you'll be surrounded by more people running ' as fast' as you than you will find in Chicago - so that helps. Having a group of runners with the same goal out there, makes it easier to get the work done.
Another advantage that I found in Berlin is that it was less windy than Chicago. I think this is because, the course goes through the city and you're surrounded by buildings. Temparature was great on race day, in the mid 50's when it started and mid 60s by the end (noon). You could expect similar weather in Chicago, but the chances of windier day are higher in the Windy City.

Cons/observations: The race starts at 9:15am. I wished it was an earlier start, but that's just personal preference. Getting to the start line is fairly easy, it's walking distance from many hotels downtown or a short subway ride away.

The expo this year was at a different location than prior years. It was at what looked to be an old warehouse. Getting there was fairly easy and quick, it's right on the U2 line. Once inside, my first impression was that it was very organized, very German. Meaning getting your bag and number was easy and quick, however, once you get to the actual expo , I was a little disappointed, it was chaos - beginning with the Adidas booth, merchandise was on the floor, no order whatsoever. I know how the Adidas booth gets in Boston but this was worst. We were there on Friday and they had run out of a lot of small sizes. Perhaps it was the timing we went, but I was not amazed.

Once you register for the race, you have the option to buy the race t-shirt. If you didn't select this option, you can still buy it at the expo, I think for 5 euro more. This year the shirt was a short sleeve.

The course. Keep in mind the course is marked in kilometers! so if you're used to min/mile, think ahead what the conversation is to min/km. Water/aid stations were fine. I don't recall any shortage of stations. The stations were approx. every 5k (3 miles) and had water and a gatorade-like drink served in cups. In the latter part of the course there is a gel station and a redbull station. I didn't try either one. The course goes through pretty much the entire city and the .5 mile you run through the Branderburg gate, which makes the last stretch pretty damn cool!

Cheering throughout the course was pretty good, and opportunities to cheer are also good. You can plan to see friends running in probably 3 or more diff. spots.

Another recommendation is the 'breakfast run' the day before the marathon. This is a 4 mile(6km) run that ends with a loop around the Olympic Stadium. Beware, getting there from city centre takes a good 20-30 min and there is no opportunity to check gear. The run itself is not a race, just a casual run and people from all over the world run with their home country flags, making it a nice little parade.

Last thing, getting there - the race is on a Sunday and I got there on an overnight flight from the Midwest Thursday arriving Friday morning. I felt that 2 days was good enough for me to feel acclimated to the time difference. When I ran London in 2015, I also planned for a Friday morning arrival on a Sunday morning race and worked out just as well.

All this said, I highly recommend Berlin as an oversea option!

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