Berlin Marathon 2014
Late September last year I was sat in my house with family and friends after running the Windsor Half Marathon. We were watching the Berlin Marathon on TV and we witnessed Wilson Kipsang break the world record. I thought at the time that it looked like a really good marathon to run. When the Berlin ballot came up I decided to have a go despite my 100% ‘7’ consecutive year failure rate at the London Marathon ballot, but I was shocked and ecstatic when I found out I was successful so had the race firmly etched in my diary. Throughout the spring I had an ankle injury followed by hamstring and thigh issues and had doubts about running the marathon up until around a month or so before the race at which point I decided ‘right I’m in whatever!’
My wife Edi, daughter Catherine and I arrived 3 days before the race as this was to be a combined family holiday too. This was the first time we had visited Berlin and were knocked over by the beauty of the city - we had a fun time sightseeing and soaking in the atmosphere. I went to the expo early Friday evening to pick up my race number and chip and it was really busy so I guess it was wise because Saturday is the busiest time there. The expo is in an aircraft hangar which is a bit different to the London ExCeL.
The marathon came around pretty quick and I was happy with my prep on the day, had a light breakfast despite all the tempting food that was on offer at the hotel and made sure I was hydrated and that Edi and Catherine were all set too.
Unfortunately I mistimed getting to the start and missed the first wave which I was meant to be in so started in the next wave which was a little time costly due to the difference in pace. I managed to scramble my way forwards weaving in and out of people in an attempt to get to the pace I should have been at but it was very crowded. Despite this the atmosphere and support was amazing and in my opinion on a par with London.
This was probably the first marathon I have run correctly, I kept a fairly consistent pace throughout and this time took the fuel strategy a bit more seriously which was probably an important factor in not hitting the wall on this occasion.
As the 30km mark came along I managed to pass the 3:30:00 pacer with the mass congregation of runners running with him and given that he would have set off around 6 to 8 minutes before me I then realised I was on for a good time if I just kept going. This was my sixth marathon and for three of the previous marathons the wheels came off around this point making it a real struggle but this time despite the lack of training due to resting my ankle in the previous weeks I was able to cruise on although my pace was fading.
The support was fantastic which helped tremendously at the final stage and when I got a glimpse of the Brandenburg Gate I was already on cloud 9! I made it to the finish in 3:14:02 smashing my PB by 14 minutes 43 seconds, found my family who had had a great time watching from the Brandenburg finish area, then just to top it all bumped into the living legend ultra runner Scott Jurek!
This was my best marathon so far, Berlin is a nice flat fast course through a great city with superb support. There were many bands playing along the course which also helped drive the runners on. There is a truly international feel with flags and emblems from all over the world being sported on runners shirts and throughout the crowds, the organizers and marshals deserve medals all around for helping make this such a special race. I ran for the Guide Dogs charity which is a charity very close to my heart and am hoping I helped make a difference with my fundraising.
Added to this we had a marvelous family break and we loved the city.
So now for some rest and hopefully I will be running a marathon 2015!
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