Running toward Brandenburg Gate

The Berlin Half Marathon was a memorable race characterized by
break-neck speeds. Not by me of course, but by winner Leonard Koman, whose time of 59:14
is the fastest half marathon debut time in history. If you double that time and
then add on another 25 minutes, then you get my finish time. While
I may not have broken any records, I did manage to conquer another destination on my quest to
run the world
.

The
Race Expo
Since
“traveling the world and running it, too” is what I do, I thought it was very
cool that the race expo took place inside an airport. The disused Tempelhof Airport
was once considered one of Europe’s three iconic pre-World War II airports,
along with London’s now defunct Croydon Airport and the old Paris – Le Bourget
Airport.

Race expo at Tempelhof Airport

However, Tempelhof is probably best known as the airport where the
Allies flew into to deliver essential supplies to sustain the people of Berlin during
World War II. These days, the property is used as an event location for trade
fairs and conventions, and the runway used by cyclists, skateboarders and
rollerbladers, and on this occasion, the children’s race event that was part of
the Berlin Half Marathon.

The
Race
Germany’s
capital and largest city is mostly flat and takes place on wide roads and
boulevards, making for a great course. Starting and finishing on
Karl-Marx-Allee
, a boulevard that is a monument to communist era architecture in
the eastern part of Berlin, the route is as scenic as it is historical and passes
many landmarks in both the former West and East sectors of the city. We ran
through the iconic Brandenburg Gate, along the famous Kurfürstendamm boulevard,
past the Victory Column, the splendid Charlottenburg Palace and Checkpoint
Charlie
.

The Berliner Dom is one of the mileposts of the Berlin Half Marathon

Runners speeding past the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin

We also ran along the Unter den Linden and its grand buildings,
however, while this is normally a very pretty street, there was a lot of
construction going on, with cranes and barriers obstructing much of its beauty.
Also, Berlin, like many parts of Western Europe, is having a glorious spring, and
temperatures on race day were 20 C/68 F. However, there was no relief to be had
in the shade Unter den Linden (translation:
Under the linden trees), which were still bare or not there at all because of
the construction.

Enthusiastic spectators along the Berlin Half Marathon route

Nearly
30,000 people participated in the Berlin Half Marathon, and there were musical
bands, artists and enthusiastic spectators waving signs and cheering us along
the way. I even had my own personal cheering section. Too bad I totally missed
them!! They had cool signs and everything!

My personal cheering section
Photo credit: Natalie Montgomery
The Finish 
My
finishing time was almost exactly the same as the CPC Loop
a few weeks earlier. Though I was hoping to do a little better – considering
that the first 3 miles were very slow because of the runner bottleneck
situation that was going on, and that I stopped a lot to take pictures – I was
still pretty happy. At least I was until I got the medal. I do like my race bling.

Race memorabilia

For me, half of the fun of conquering destinations on my quest to run the world
is the loot, the spoils, and the take away from this conquest was less than
impressive.

But
I’m not discouraged. I have another destination in my sights and the race bling
treasures promise to be significant…