- 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
For a full account of my experience, visit my blog here: http://everythingbutweddings.ca/2017/10/race-recap-bmw-berlin-marathon-2017/
Organization – The Germans are very organized and it shows. It’s easy to figure out where to get what you need. Communication was great and lots of information was available online and at package pickup (they handed out information booklets and transit maps). All my questions were answered quickly just by looking online or reading the booklet. The race started promptly and there were lots of signs and volunteers showing you where to go. They also gave advice on which station to get off at since there are road closures all over the place.
Package Pickup & Expo – I went on the first day right when it opened and it was a breeze; although, I heard that things get quite hectic closer to race day. While it was a large venue, everything is organized and easy to find and within 10 minutes, I got my package. What I didn’t like was that once you left package pickup, you can’t go back in. The Expo conveniently located by the Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station. It was large and you can take up a lot of time just walking and seeing everything. The Adidas shop is massive and they had separate lines for people buying official merchandise and those buying regular stuff. I don’t know why but I’m sure there was a reason. We bought official and non-official stuff separately and there wasn’t much of a lineup due to the number of cashiers. There’s food outside if you get hungry as well (bring cash).
Course – The course is fast and flat as advertised. You run through a bunch of neighbourhoods, cross the winding Spree River 6 or 7 times, and see some iconic landmarks. The best part was running through the Brandenburg Gate, a nice welcome to the finish line. Aid stations were plentiful and well-stocked. There was also a Red Bull station at about 6 km to go which was helpful. They did use plastic cups for water but paper cups for energy drink. I think they could’ve used paper for both, I don’t know why. It made a bit of a mess. All the volunteers were friendly and happy to help you out. There were even massage stations in the second half of the course!
Swag – I don’t like that you had to pay for finisher shirts but I like that they gave you a choice to even get a shirt or not. I personally bought the shirts but I know some people would rather not have it. I guess I could count the Breakfast Run as swag… it was a free event with free food. That, I appreciated, as it was a fantastic shakeout run. The medal is beautiful and the post-race snack bag I got had a lot of stuff in it. Again, I wish I bought the shoes.
Would I Do it Again? In a heartbeat. I know I could do better if I wasn’t feeling like crap. Plus, I love Berlin.