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…