The Berlin Marathon Moves At A Breakneck Pace — Can You Keep Up?

On the last weekend in September, more than 40,000 people from all over the world pour into Berlin to try their luck while running the Berlin Marathon. The marathon, which began in 1974, takes place over two days, with inline skaters competing on the first day, and runners taking their start the next.

Attracting somewhere in the neighborhood of one million spectators, the 42 kilometer or 26 mile long course covers much of the city of Berlin, both starting and concluding at the Brandenburg Gate.

Unlike other marathons, the route in Berlin, which loops around Tiergarten, past Alexanderplatz, and through Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, and Schöneberg before returning to the Brandenburg Gate, is quite flat, allowing for runners to get much faster times than elsewhere.

In fact, in 2008, a world record was set on the course by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia when he competed the course in just 2 hours and 3 minutes! I certainly wouldn’t want to try to keep up with his pace, but if you want to power walk the marathon then you won’t be alone in this daunting task. ;-)

While the Berlin Marathon takes place, there’s also a wheelchair marathon happening, and a much shorter fun-run for children, lasting just 4 km (2.5 mi).

If you are interested in participating in the Berlin Marathon as a runner or walker, be sure to register early, as entry is capped at 40,000 and always fills up quickly.

Otherwise, there’s no shame in joining the million other spectators that show up to cheer on the contestants, even if the late September weather can be quite chilly! Just make sure to bring your hat and gloves, and keep warm by sipping on mulled wine or other tasty treats.


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