Report by Karl Chatterton
After a few long months of marathon training it was finally time to pack the bags and get ready for the Berlin Marathon. We arrived in Berlin late on Friday evening and made plans to head out to the expo on the Saturday morning. A short ride on the U-Bahn brought us to the Berlin Marathon Expo which is held in the now disused Templehof Airport.
The expo itself is held in three former aircraft hangers, which housed the hundreds of different merchandise stalls. Once we’d navigated our way through all the different stalls and queued a little longer I had my number and race t-shirt in my hand and was all set to go. I had been allocated into start pen D which was described as 3:01-3:15. This was based upon my previous marathon best of 3:08 at Dublin last year.
6:30am on Sunday morning and I was woken by the sound of my alarm clock which meant it was time to start getting ready. I had my pre-race porridge and cup of coffee and headed down to reception to meet some friends who were also running. Our hotel was about 30 minutes walk from the start line which we decided to use as our warm-up. We dropped our bags at the designated points, wished each other good luck and headed to our various start pens. I was only in my start pen a few minutes when I was greeted with the familiar Sportsworld faces of Will Greensmyth, and Eoin O’Brien. Will and myself located the 3 hour pacers and discussed how we would try and stick close or just in front of the pacers to try and get us to half way in around 1:29. Eoin had managed to sneak his way through from pen G to the front of pen E so was only starting a couple of minutes behind us.
At 9am the gun sounded and we started to move towards the start line. We were off and moving, slightly slower than marathon pace for the first mile due to the crowds but we knew we’d pick that up over course of the race. We settled into a good rhythm and the first few miles seemed to fly by. The crowds were pretty busy still but we tried to stick as close to the blue line painted on the road as possible.
We reached half way in just under 1:29, right on track, where my friends and family were waiting with their Irish flags. After a big cheer from the side-lines it was now time to dig deep, take the next energy gel and concentrate on keeping moving. Will had dropped back a little at this stage and I was just trying to keep the 3 hour pacers within my sights. I reached miles 17-18 still feeling good but resisted the temptation to push on and tried to keep the pace steady.
I was starting to tire at around 23 miles and the pace was starting to drop slightly and I could feel a bit of cramp in my hamstring. It was just after that a shout from Sportsworld’s Trevor Sweeney gave me the lift I needed to push on for the last few miles. As the course started to wind back into the city centre towards the finish I passed the 40km sign with 2hrs 50 on my watch. That was the first time I realised I was going to break the elusive 3 hour mark for the first time.
Taking the final bend onto Unter Den Linden we were greeted by thousands of spectators and the magnificent sight of the Brandenburg gate, with the finish line just beyond. That final few hundred metres is a bit of a blur but I crossed the line in 2:58:17 making all the pain worth it. I walked slowly back to the baggage area to be handed a cold pint of Erdinger Alkoholfrei which was the best tasting non-alcoholic beer I’ve ever had!
Karl Chatterton – 2:58:17
Will Greensmyth – 3:13:03
Eoin O’Brien – 3:19:14
Padraig Moorehouse – 4:40:47
Full results: Berlin Results