B is for Berlin and the place for Marathon World Records

So yes, it’s been actually a month since running Berlin (28th September) and yes I’ve been a bit slack in updating the blog lately and I’ve also been travelling but that is not an excuse.

To get to Berlin from Wellington, NZ is a fair bit of travel. Door to door I think it took me about 40hrs until I slumped on the bed in a Berlin hotel room completely exhausted. Not the best way to run a marathon in a few days with that kind of travelling.

This was my third marathon and the first BIG International marathon. Berlin is the holy grail for marathoners seeking a fast time and of course the place where all recent world records in the 42.2km distance has been achieved. More on this a bit later!

The city of Berlin is rich with history with many attractions. During the short stay we managed to visit some of these closer to where we stayed. We tried to rest as much as we could before the marathon day. We stayed in a nice hotel not far from the start which was near the Brandenburg gate and Tiergarten. This allowed us to go for some easy runs exploring around the city leading up to race day. Here are some photos of the various parts of the city.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Since my last marathon in May (Rotorua Marathon) I had reduced my typical high mileage training and opted for a medium level training plan, I also picked up an annoying niggle (read pain) on the ankle of my right foot about 3 weeks before coming to Berlin which gave me a bit of discomfort on longer runs but it was manageable with icing and strapping post training runs. When I planned to run Berlin earlier in the year I had a completely different mind set, overtime since running Rotorua in 3:18 (PB) in May (a highpoint) and a few things that happened in my life, it would be fair to say that I lost a bit of motivation in running along with the goal and the hunger for Berlin changed considerably. However things changed and I found a pretty good reason to go if travelling to Berlin itself wasn’t a good enough reason. :-)

Race Pack Pickup in Tempelhof

On the Friday two days before the marathon we went to the Expo hall in the now closed Tempelhof airport. This being an airport obviously had lots of space and also a sports expo with many vendors with displays related to running and other sports activities. Berlin also host the a skating marathon which was on the Saturday. So there was a lot of people who were there. The organisation was top notch even with the massive number of participants. You lined up under your name alphabetically handed in your registration bar code and voila you had your race pack/number along with some ‘free’ goodies in a see through plastic bag. This being the only allowed official bag for storing any of your after race personal clothes etc. You get a sticker with your name and number which you could affix to the bag. All very good!

20140926_133954443_iOS 20140926_144855000_iOS 20140926_122825475_iOS20140926_120648507_iOS

Some photos from the Expo hall – Curry Wurst, Beer and Shoes!!

Race Day – 28th September

The day was perfect with a very slight breeze and blue skies, I mean perfect and I can do no justice describing it. The german commentators said “Eine unglaubliche wundershoenes tag!” And the marathon had not even begun. We made it to the start area through a park and along the way we handed in our post run gear (in the see through plastic bags). This was nicely managed with blocks numbered as per your race number. Only thing was the Men’s area and the Women’s area were in two separate locations hence there was a bit of a round trip to hand both our bags. Nevertheless we pretty much made it into our starting corral just in time for the start with a non-standard pit stop in the bushes. Yup there was no way we were queuing behind 500 people or so! :-)

20140928_062953997_iOS

Yup that’s the queue and it was looong! Lucky we were in a massive park with trees.

20140928_064728869_iOS

Race start in our Corral, it was a perfect day!

The race pretty much started on time! It took us about maybe 2 minutes to go over the official timing mat thingy as everyone started moving. The atmosphere was phenomenal, there were runners from pretty much every country and in every shape, size, age. I’ve been told about big city marathons and the feeling you have when you start but to experience the feel of movement of over 30,000 people around you is entirely another thing. It was spectacular.

So by this time I had already decided on one thing, I was going to forget about any goals/times PBs. I was going to run with Orsi. This was her second marathon and I wanted to finish Berlin with her. We got into a pretty easy rhythm and took in the cheers from the people who had given up their Sunday morning to come and cheer all the runners in their city.

We took in the sites and the people, and there were lots of them all lined up along the route! There we local musicians, dancers, bands, trumpeters all every 4-5kms apart which made up for an interesting mix of music and everyone around you were smiling.

We went through the first half of the marathon pretty conservatively and then started to build up gradually as we went through as I call it the “meaty part” basically from 25-34kms where things can change dramatically from having a good marathon experience to a bad marathon experience. Coming into the last 8 kms the music got louder the cheers got louder and the whole atmosphere lifted you to another level. We both crossed the finish in a time of 03:26:37 (A big PB for her).

20140928_101702514_iOS

20140928_110231879_iOS

Relaxing on the grounds of the People’s palace, post marathon.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the marathon everyone got a pint of alcohol free beer along with water, apples, bananas as you walked out of the finish area. We settled on the grass in front of the People’s palace to enjoy the post race pains.

This was also a historic day for marathoners as Dennis Kimetto of Kenya broke the marathon world record with a time of 02:02:57 (That’s 2hours 2mins and 57seconds).

Berlin-1

Kimetto – world marathon record breaker!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This short video has some of the great highlights of the Berlin marathon

Happy running!

63.3 Challenge Update

Wow, seems like its ages since I wrote anything about anything here. And it’s exactly two weeks to the Berlin Marathon on the 28th September! Since the last update of the Tauhara Trail Half in Taupo I have also competed the two other halves on the 63.3 series. Here is a quick recap of the two races.

Taupo Half Marathon 2014 – 03rd August 

This was my third year in doing the Taupo Half and the day was considerably very wet and rained from the start. However I managed to run a 1:26:38 thus running about a minute quicker and bettering the Wellington Half Marathon time of 1:27:37. All good indication that my training was actually showing results.

Taupo Half Marathon 2014

Taupo Half Marathon 2014 – wet and cold but with a PB!

The race was pretty much a very even affair and I managed to keep even splits all through out. The highlight was running in a pack of six guys who seem to be part of a training group and they kept alternating the lead as a group. I joined in and that kept our sixsome pretty even right until about 18km marker when a couple of the guys started fading away. My last two km’s were not even but I was of course stoked about running a minute quicker PB on that course on that day which was wet and miserable. Comparatively last year in Taupo I ran 1:34:40 so a huge improvement.

Kinloch Off Road Half 2014 – 6 – September

The final event of the 63.3 series was in Kinloch. The hlaf marathon course took the W2K track and the headland loop before returning to Kinloch. This trail was not steep but quite undulating and I found it most challenging from the other two as there was a constant up and down rolling nature of the trail. With not many weeks to Berlin I didnt want to push too hard on this course but just wanted to finish so I can claim my 63.3 Finisher T-Shirt. My final time was 1:44:49 with a 5th placing in my M40-44 category and overall 26th.

Kinloch Off Road Half

Kinloch Off Road Half

 

There it is – 3 half marathons completed in 3 months and I am in my taper for the Berlin Marathon on 28th September!