Horst, give us such a great marathon again!
One look at the starting line-up promised that there could be a fast time
2003-10-02On Saturday, (September 27, 2003,) 9,612 inline skaters started off an unbelievable sporting weekend in the German capital. The signs of the times were recognised, and the organisational crew around Horst and Mark Milde made an independent MARATHON race come true for the inline skaters within the framework of the 30th real,- BERLIN MARATHON. Optimal conditions greeted not only the 150 best skaters in the world, but also accompanied the record number of almost 10,000 skaters on their sightseeing tour through Berlin. With the new course changes, they also enjoyed the start and finish at the Brandenburg Gate. In addition to the obligatory highlights “Wilder Eber“, Potsdamer Platz, and An der Urania, this year also included Ernst–Reuter–Platz, the government district, the Friedrichstadtpalast, the Gendarmenmarkt, the foreign ministry, the Rote Rathaus, the Lustgarten and the final stretch down the grand boulevard Unter den Linden.
One look at the starting line-up promised that there could be a fast time. It again included the whole palate of international team skaters, as well as the top of the German speed skating scene.
At 4 p.m. sharp, the huge field of inline skaters was sent off by the Secretary of Sport, Thomas Härtel. The teams attacked from the start, which by the halfway mark showed that the final time was going to be fast. At 5 p.m., about 80 skaters stormed past the State Opera (Staatsoper) and the Humboldt University towards the Brandenburg Gate. At the end, the Saab–Salomon–Team International was best at launching their man and last years champion, Juan Carlos Betancur, who won at Pariser Platz ahead of his teammate Massimilliano Presti and Diego Rosero (Hyper). The winning time was 1:02:03, which clearly shows that the hour limit once again fell victim to the various team tactics. The best German skater was again Christoph Zschätzsch from Gross Gera (Team Fila International) in 16th place. Also from Gera, Nico Widuwilt (Team Rollerblade Germany) and Toni Deubner (Team Fila Germany) were able to hold their own against the international elite, which was impressively demonstrated with their 17th and 25th place finishes.
In the womens race, the US–American, Julie Glass, ( Powerslide Team) had the fastest legs at the end and won with a time of 1:11:28h. The best German women on this day were the Neuling sisters, Michaela (Team Rollerblade Germany) in 15th and Franziska (Team Fila Germany) in 16th place. While in previous years there were only a few spectators out so early on the MARATHON course to watch the inline skaters, this time about 200,000 enthusiastic Berliners and their guests lined the streets and gave this dynamic sport its deserving support. Once again the organisation around Horst Milde has proven that they are determined to satisfy the interests of the ever-growing number of speed skaters. One can only hope that the other cities like Hamburg, Cologne, or Frankfurt will follow this example and also give the skaters their own platform.
And even if some of the representatives from the media, the government, and the economy do not seem to recognise the potential that this sport has, tens of thousands of wheels will be certain to heat up the Berlin asphalt again next year on September 25, at the 31st real,- BERLIN MARATHON. THANK YOU HORST AND MARK ! Mike Saft
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