Tomorrow will see the second biggest marathon in the world take place – the Berlin Marathon. It will be the 39th year that the race has taken place, starting in 1974 with just 286 starters the race had humble beginings, but it wasn’t long before it grew. In 1977 the National Marathon championships were held at the event and British runner Normal Wilson won, setting a course record in 2h16m.
In 1981 the event moved to the city centre, this was before the reunification of East and West Germany and a time of tension, therefore it was not easy to persuade police and military to move the race, but the organisers managed it. In 1990, in what must have been the most emotional Marathon of all time, the Berlin Marathon crossed through the Brandenburg Gate between East and West Germany just months after the Berlin wall had come down. Steve Moneghetti won the race, but for once, that wasn’t the story. Runners had tears in their eyes as they passed through the gate.
This year over 40,000 starters are expected and more than a million spectators. It is the race with more world records set than any other – at least in part due to the flat profile of the course. Whilst the main race takes place on the Sunday, there’s also an inline skate marathon on the Saturday in which about 8,000 people take part! The winners on skates finish in about one hour.
Good luck to anyone taking part tomorrow – my good friend Tim will be there aiming to break 3h30m. Good luck Tim!