Running through the Brandenburger Tor for the finish is something you can’t get enough of. So I did Berlin the second time (after I had my first go in 2015). And worth mentioning: it was the 44th Berlin Marathon and also the 44th I was running. A sign? Coincidence? More likely the later, nevertheless, it’s a nice one. Something that couldn’t be said of the weather.
You felt eerily reminded of Peking Marathon events (I can only judge by pictures I have seen), but instead of smog it was only legit mucky weather. Unfortunately it was warmer than my preference, which made the whole thing more challenging than expected. Rain can have the welcomed side effect to cool you down, put this felt more muggy. At kilometre 30 my legs had enough of the sub 4:50 min/km pace. There was a lesson to learn from previous races where I forced them a few kilometres more, only to be defeated on the last stretch and being paid back so that I had to walk or hobble the last bits with the most spectator, missing out on the biggest fun. So I tried to be nice to my legs and negotiated a slower but not sluggish pace (to date I have not managed to produce any of these mind-over-matter superhuman stories, where I push through the pain and defeat my body). In return my legs where nice to me, did not cramp and even recovered towards the end and I had a blast running the last km, passing the Tor, stretching out my arms and doing a plane thingy, high-fiving many hands. It was again a moment of goosebumps and greatness. Thanks Berlin, all the spectators and helpers who showed up despite the moody skies. Again, you made the event very special. And inviting all runners, their friends and organisers to a great after party to celebrate the big and little stories was really nice. I am sure I will be back, if I am lucky enough to be drawn again.
What is “Fränkische Schweiz” in English? It is an area by Nuremberg, Germany, close to where I spent a big part of my youth. Now it was time to do the marathon there and wanting to write in English about it made me check the dictionary. So, here you go: It is “Franconian Switzerland” – and no, it has nothing to do with the Swiss. Now the technicalities are out-of-the-way, I want to add that it is the first marathon where my parents came with me, which made it really special (I had to run 43 marathons to see my parents at the finish line). The race itself was quite spectacular, too. They closed off an entire A-road (or B-road in Germany, B for Bundesstraße), which goes along the amazing Franconian Switzerland’s scenery. The marathon route was quite simple, running up and down this road (B 470) for 42 kilometres, but the backdrop was stunning. Unfortunately I did not take pictures, having been rather busy chasing my personal best. It was great running weather, much cooler than the hot August summer days earlier this week, so I thought I might have a chance here. The official times are not published yet, but I must have missed it by a few seconds. At kilometre 38 I desperately had to pee, something that had never happened before that late in a race. (When you think you’ve experienced it all.) Anyway, it was a great small event and a lot of fun to share my marathon passion with my folks. And if you ever consider doing this one, don’t forget that the right airport for Franconian Switzerland is Nuremberg, not Basel or Geneva.