Race report and photos by Adrian Lanigan
After missing the last years Berlin last year through injury I was entered again this year determined to give a good account of myself on what is the fastest course in the world.
To be honest after building up to this race for the whole year I was very nervous setting off from Dublin on Friday evening. I bumped into Diarmuid on the flight and we made plans to meet up after the race on Sunday.
Saturday morning I joined the traditional “Breakfast Run” and 6km jog from the palace at Charlottenburg to the Olympic Stadium.
There is a great atmosphere at this run with people from all over the world decked out in their national colours and flags.
The jog finishes in the Olympic stadium which is now home to the Hertha Berlin soccer team, but of course this was the site of Jesse Owens great displays in the 1936 Olympics and more recently Usain Bolt set world records here at 100m and 200m in 2009.
The warm sunshine was pleasant but I know it would probably be a factor in the big race the following day.
After picking up my number at the expo across town it was time to relax and prepare for the main event.
On Sunday the weather was near perfect in the early morning. This race is superbly organised and even though there are 40,000 entrants there seems to be much queueing up needed.
At 9:15am we are off around the streets of Berlin. The support out on the course is fantastic with big crowds, DJ’s, bands and all sorts of entertainment.
There is also no shortage of aid stations with everything from water, sports drinks, bananas, even tea.
As with every marathon it is crucial to get your pacing right. I’m targeting between 3:25 and 3:30 so I’m trying to stay at the slower end of that range but the GPS watches are not much use as the signals are affected by all the tall buildings.
I keep an eye on my times at the 5km intervals and am happy enough with my progress. I get through halfway in a time of 1:43:05. This puts me bang on target so just a matter of keeping things together for the second half of the race.
Easier said than done though as the pain increases with each km marker and the temperature heads ever higher.
I’m really hanging on a bit after 40km and I’m never as glad to see the sight of the Brandenburg gate. Remembering the advice from last years runners that the finish line is a little beyond the gate I save something for the final straight and am delighted to see a finish time of 3:26:56.
I didn’t exactly give Kenenisa Bekele a run for his money but I’m delighted to take over 20 mins off my marathon PB.
Sportsworlds Adrian and Diarmuid meet up before starting the race
The post-race atmosphere is truly amazing and I again meet up with Diarmuid for some post race beers and to exchange war stories.
This is truly a great experience and it’s a race I’d recommend to anyone, as long as they have the training done.
After a day of battling Berlins many, many steps in name of some sightseeing it’s time to head home after a job well done and taking with me a medal and some great memories.
Diarmuid O’Suilleabhain 2:59:25 (PB)
Adrian Lanigan 3:26:56 (PB)