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Brandenburg Gate will be the spectacular new finish of the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON

Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON starts the season – Other highlights will include AVON RUNNING Women’s Race, the 5x5 k relay and the Bewag City Night on Kurfürstendamm

2003-01-20

This year will see major changes for some of the events of SCC-RUNNING. First of all the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON will have a new course with the most spectacular finish you can imagine: the Brandenburg Gate. For marathon runners this news must be like fireworks for celebrating the New Year.

A day before New Year’s Eve Horst Milde, the director of the real,- BERLIN MARATHON, announced some major changes concerning the race, which will have a jubilee edition on 28th September 2003. The finish of the 30th real,- BERLIN MARATHON will be at Brandenburg Gate, Germany’s most famous landmark. Runners finishing the race will run through the gate and then for another 300 metres straight into the finish. The start will be just a bit further down the road on Straße des 17. Juni. So television pictures will have the Brandenburg Gate in the background at both, the start and the finish.

Since the race had been moved from the Berlin woods (Grunewald) into the city in 1981 the finish was on Kurfürstendamm until 2000. It was only for the last two years that it had been slightly moved backwards into Tauentzienstraße. Ironically, the new starting area will be something like a step back in time for the organisers and some runners. It was in the second half of the 80ies, when the marathon was started at almost the same point as it will on 28th September 2003. The background then of course included the Berlin Wall. So for a marathon in Germany Berlin’s the new finish could not be more spectacular. Since 1990 the start of the race had been on Straße des 17. Juni, but runners ran in the other direction towards Brandenburg Gate. The tourist attraction was reached after about two miles.

“With our new course we will present Berlin to the world”, race organiser Horst Milde said. While the new route has kept the sights of the former course like Kurfürstendamm with the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, there are more landmarks included now: The Bundeskanzleramt (seat of the German chancellor), the Reichstag, which houses the German parliament or the Friedrichstraße with the famous Checkpoint Charlie are some examples.

As organisers expect a much higher interest in their race, they have again raised the entry limit by about ten percent. 35,000 runners will be allowed to compete. Entries will be accepted through the internet from now on until the limit is reached. Because of Berlin’s wide streets the course is generally regarded to be suitable for may be 50,000 runners. “But we want to make sure that we can keep our high standard of organisation for the benefit of every runner. That is why we raise the limit by just a couple of thousand starters from year to year”, Horst Milde explains.

There is also good news for the serious and elite runners: the new course will be as flat and fast as the old one was. It was in Berlin where Naoko Takahashi (Japan) became the first woman to break the 2:20 barrier. In 2001 the Olympic Champion ran 2:19:46. Two other world best performances had been run in and Ronaldo da Costa (Brazil) still holds the course record with 2:06:05 (1998).

Provided that local government gives permission the Inline Skaters will have their own real,- BERLIN MARATHON a day earlier. It is planned that up to 12,000 skaters will race on the new course through Berlin already on Saturday afternoon. The real,- BERLIN MINI MARATHON for pupils would then also be staged on Saturday.

Berlin’s big opening event for the new season will be the Bewag HALF MARATHON on 6th April. This race has grown enormously during the last few years. Nearly 15,000 athletes from 55 nations competed last year. Among them were Inline Skaters and pupils, who participated in a 4 k race. The Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON offers a very attractive course right through the centre of the city – there is no better sightseeing route. Additionally the course is an extremely flat one, which allows very fast times. It is one of few half marathons world wide which can boost a course record sub 60 minutes.

Germany’s by far biggest women’s race will take place on 24th May: More than 10,000 runners will be expected at the AVON RUNNING Berliner Frauenlauf in Tiergarten. It is planned that the women’s race will get a new course, which would offer more room for runners and organisers. There is a 5 k race and a more serious 10 k event. Power walkers are welcome.

The interest has grown enormously at the 5 x 5 k relay event in the Tiergarten. This will be another race which should see a new course. The race is staged on a weekday evening on 25th June. That allows people to run with their colleagues right after work. It is planned to accept more than 1,000 relay teams this year. That would mean more than 5,000 runners.

Runners will benefit from a great atmosphere at the Bewag City Night on Kurfürstendamm on 9th August. With about 50,000 spectators the enthusiasm is similar to that on marathon day. Two races will be offered during the evening: 5 k and 10 k. On a flat course fast times are possible. The Bewag City Night might also see a slightly changed course, which would give more room to the runners.


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