GRC's Neil Emerson was not sure what to expect of the 43rd Edition of the Berlin Marathon on September 25, 2016. This was his fifth International marathon and the first Marathon Major and both the event and the city were superb. Berlin wasn't what he anticipated from a capitol city - welcoming, pavement cafes, relaxing and friendly. The breakfast run on Saturday morning was on of the highlights, with runners from all over the world making the 6KM warm-up ending in the historic 1936 Olympic stadium - inspiration if ever you needed it! Didn't realise how much of a thing In-line Skating is in Germany, with the skaters rolling the course on Saturday afternoon as they visited the Berlin Wall memorial.
The race was superbly organised and the course, whilst not the most picturesque compared to Rome or Paris, was flat, well supported throughout and devoid of switchbacks (hurrah). The day started for 42,000 runners in the Tiergarten in front of the impressive Reichstag building. The cloudless sky made for warm, but not uncomfortable, weather. Family positioned themselves at the 20KM and 32KM points and his daughter ran alongside him during the last 400 yards to an emotional finish through the Brandenburg gate. They were greeted with beer - but unfortunately it was alcohol free (why?). Later that evening they found where they'd hidden the alcohol!
"Berlin is worthy of its position as one of the Marathon Majors and, given the opportunity, I'd run it again in a heartbeat. It gives everything to both novice and experienced marathoners. With so much recent focus on London, remember that most major European cities offer incredible scenic and cultural running experiences within reach of most budgets" said Neil.
"The picture attached sums it up for me. It was taken with about 400 yards to go and because Adidas co-sponsored the race, you'll see that the blue line is in fact the Adidas 3 stripes. Next up for me is likely to be Switzerland on April 09" continued Neil