Running the Berlin Half Marathon

Posted by on Apr 5, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments

I have been casually and half-heartedly training for a race on and off for the past five years or so, with a few specific city marathons in my head, but there always seemed to be an excuse that got in the way of actually running one. Finally, this January, I committed to the Berlin Half Marathon on April 1st for my initiation. It looked like it could be just another New Year’s Resolution bound for failure, but I stuck with it to the end and finished that sold-out race of 27,500 runners this past Sunday.

I trained entirely outside through the coldest months of the year —although, I was extremely lucky to have the same lame winter in Berlin as in the US this year — it still got down into the twenties and teens, which worked out in my favor in the end. On race day it was only in the 40’s (and even snowed for a few minutes the day before).


Getting ready to run out the door


Since it was my first race experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. On Sunday I woke up early and had plenty to drink and a light breakfast. I took the subway, and as it drew closer and closer to the starting line with every stop the cars became increasingly jammed with people in sneakers and numbers pinned to their chests.

I arrived and found my way to the starting area towards the back, where I was placed since I didn’t have a good guess of my finishing time when I had registered. The mood was upbeat, energetic and anxious as we packed in like sardines to wait for the start. There were a few interesting characters of note among the masses: like the group of women dressed as bumblebees, and I even happened to spot Superman, cape and all. (I thought to myself, now why would Superman need to run the race, couldn’t he just fly over it?)

Waiting in the crowd to start the race


The mass of people inched its way to the start and I was off! The course took us through the great scenic parts of Berlin: past German Parliament and the Reichstag Dome, the Brandenburg Gate, through Tiergarten, Checkpoint Charlie, and down Kudamm. The crowds were energetic, cheering the whole way through, the kids on the sidelines were looking for high-fives to entertain themselves (I gave out a good share of them).


I felt a bit tired at times, but the thrill of it all kept me moving. Before I knew it they were handing out water, bananas and alcohol-free beer for replenishment at the finish line. I ran the half marathon in an hour and 52 minutes and I think I even beat Superman to the finish line.


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