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The grandmother of all public races is turning 40 – at the beginning there was cross country

“No strain is too great for a real cross country runner“

2003-10-23

November 8, 1964 is the birthday of mass sports and of public races in Berlin—and in Germany as well. The running movement has gone through a long, yet sensational development since then. The climax of this development was the 30th real,- BERLIN MARATHON on September 27/28, 2003.

The 40th Berlin Cross Country Race by SCC-RUNNING on November 9, 2003, which is considered to be the oldest cross-country event in the country, traditionally rings in the cross-country season.

The long series of cross-country events began on November 8, 1964, below the sledding hill on the Teufelsberg mountain, the “grandmother of all public races“. The 1500m race ended with a spectacular and close victory by the later European Champion Bodo Tümmler (SCC) ahead of Bernd-Dieter Hecht (PSV) in "the race of the aces" and the successful bike racer, Rainer Podlesch (Zehlendorfer Eichhörnchen) won the amateur race. There were only three competition categories in 1964, and no race for women! Students from the Free University Berlin had participated in university competitions in France and Greece in 1963 and 1964. They were cross-country races through rough terrain. In Germany one traditionally ran on “raked“ forest paths. This kind of race was to be “imported“. At first it was planned to organise a race just for students, but then they came up with the idea to also animate the Berlin population previously not involved in clubs to participate, as well. That was so unusual that the Berlin Track and Field Association (BLV) left this premiere to the students of the FU. It was an overwhelming success with 700 participants, when there were usually 50-70 runners at the start of a forest race.

With catchy slogans like “No strain is too great for a real cross country runner“ – or “Every man who doesn get stuck on the course will receive the cross country pin“, the Berlin population was motivated to participate. Still today, every person who makes it to the finish receives the cross-country pin. In 1977, the Berlin Cross Country race reached its climax with 3,430 participants, as numerous schools participated with entire classes.

In 1995, the race was relocated from the traditional course in the Grunewald Forest at the Teufelsberg Mountain to the Maifeld and in the Olympic horse stadium – in part due to conflicts with the forest administration – but it returned to the Grunewald Forest again in 2002. The flat course on the Maifeld “was not a hit“ with the runners. The conflict was reconciled with the forest administration and the race returned “to the roots“ of cross-country running. The new course stood the test last year and was judged positively by the participants. Start and finish are at the Eichkamp sports field in Harbigstraße in Charlottenburg, but the course goes through the forest. Changing facilities, showers, toilets, and parking are all sufficiently available.

Registration deadline is Sunday, October 26, 2003

Invitations are available in the running office at Glockenturmstraße 23. The cross-country race is an integrative part of the runners winter training and serves as preparation for the summer season.


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