Everything You Need to Know About Running the Berlin Marathon
It is not uncommon to hear an endurance runner give details on his or her’s running bucket list which may include completing in each of the six Abbot World Marathon Majors. The six include Boston, London, New York City, Chicago, Tokyo, and Berlin. Berlin is often a sought out course particularly because, out of the combined 6 world majors, it is notoriously known for it’s fast, flat course and ideal weather conditions as a fall marathon in September. Here is the scoop on running one of the world marathon majors: the Berlin Marathon.
Registering for the Berlin Marathon
The process to get in begins at the Berlin Marathon website. There are a few different methods to register for this particular race.
First, you can apply as a fast runner. In order to enter into this category, you would have had to have run a previous AIMS-certified marathon. The time requirements vary according to gender and age bracket but to give you an idea, for men (age 18-44) you would need to have run under 2:45 and for women (age 18-44) you would need to have run under 3:00. No walk in the park.
Second, if you are feeling lucky and are above 18 years old, you may enter through a lottery system. You can enter the drawing solo or as a team of 2-3 people who would each run the full marathon, not to be confused with a relay. The application period runs for 3 weeks starting mid-October into early November with results given during the first week of December prior to the year before you want to participate.
The third is the Skate to Run or BMW Berlin Marathon weekend camp options. The Berlin Marathon is not just for runners. The Saturday before the well-known road race is another Berlin Marathon but done with in-line skates. There is an option to apply for the in-line skating marathon, which can guarantee you a spot for running the following year’s marathon. However, this option is limited to 300 participants. Otherwise, you can opt-in for training camp weekends, prior to them selling out, held in Berlin in during the summer, that can help you get to the start line.
Fourth, using a tour operator or running through an official charity partner. You can find many tour operators for several countries at this site and the official charity partners in France, Germany, UK, and the USA here.
And finally, if you have finished the Berlin Marathon at least 10 times, you become part of the exclusive Jubilee-Club which can guarantee you a Berlin Marathon entry.
Getting There and Where to Stay
Congrats! You got into the marathon! Now what? Whether you plan on flying, driving, taking the train, biking or walking there, you will probably want to book things early to get the best pricing options and before things sell out. With almost 47,000 participants, you will not only be competing athletically but also as a tourist. The Berlin Marathon website can direct you to partner hotels or if you have the time, you can do some research on your own.
There is a shakeout breakfast run the day before the race that is free for everyone. The laid-back run starts at Schloss Charlottenburg ending inside the track of the 1936 Olympic Stadium. Upon completion, you are provided with a free breakfast ranging from tea and coffee to yogurt, donuts, and fresh fruit.
The Expo BERLIN VITAL is held the three days prior to race day which is, of course, where you grab your bib number but also provides a chance to visit, peruse, and shop at hundreds of vendors, with the big sponsor Adidas providing the official apparel for the race.
*Side note: Participant shirts are not provided for free but can be pre-ordered or purchased at the Expo.
As mentioned previously, this sought after looped course lives up to the hype of being fast. It holds the world marathon record held by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto at 2:02:57. Records are possible here due to low elevation, minimal turns, and ideal temperatures. Many runners set goals for their personal bests on this course.
Starting and ending in the Tiergarten Park, one passes along many sites and attractions including passing under the infamous Brandenburg Gate during the final stretch. Also, with thousands of spectators and volunteers throughout, well-equipped aid stations, and entertainment along the way, a runner has a lot to the see, hear and do along the route.
You finished the Berlin Marathon. Congratulations! Now it’s time for some rest and recovery. Hopefully, you have planned this race as part of a “runcation” and now have plenty of time, besides running one of the coolest cities on earth, to become the tourist and discover it. Berlin is full of history, but the best way to learn is through tours.
Depending on how your legs are holding up, you can walk, take a bike or a hop on hop off bus to take you several areas of the city. Then celebrate your finish with a couple steins!