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Positive response to this year’s Literature Marathon

Baumann, Ockers, Herburger and Sillitoe read aloud during the aloud during the 4th literaturfestival

2004-10-01

There was a good response from both those involved in and those just enjoying the 15th Literature Marathon which took place within the framework of the 31st real,- BERLIN MARATHON. It was carried out for the first time in cooperation with the "4th internationalen literaturfestival berlin (ilb) in the venerable Hebbel Theater (HAU) in Berlin-Kreuzberg in Stresemannstraße.

Readings in a marathon time of 4:06:30
Baumann and his "Lebenslauf" (Run of Life)
The readings and ensuing discussions lasted as long as an extended marathon in 4:06:30h. The first reader to take the podium was Olympic champion Dieter Baumann (Tübingen). He started with passages from his book "Lebenslauf" (published by the Deutschen Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 2002) from the time period directly following his positive doping control in 1999:
"Running became my therapy. I had to make it, at least one hour a day. Just one hour of running, just for me.” Then he delighted his listeners with short prose about his experiences as the “White Kenyan” during high altitude training in the East African mountains, where he once was able to “further run train compete with hundreds” of elite Kenyan runners.

Eislauf - bei Minus 42 Grad (Ice Run—In Minus 42 Degrees)
Tom Ockers of Hamburg, who is a free-lance television journalist who reports for stations including ARD, swore an oath upon the birth of his son: to participate in the Siberian Ice Marathon in Omsk.
This is the subject of his ice cold report “Eislauf“ (Ice Run) (List-Verlag, Munich 2002). He finished the course again, aloud, reliving the minus 42 degrees: "There was an odd atmosphere at the finish. All those who were still there collapsed in one another’s arms, and most of them cried like babies. Nobody cheered, and for some it was not clear if they were laughing or crying".

Herburger’s "Schlaf und Strecke" (Sleep and the Course)
There was a book premiere in the second part of the event: Günter Herburger (Munich), one of the oldest (b. 1932) and most well-known German authors who writes about running, read for the first time from his newest work that was published just two days prior: "Schlaf and Strecke" (Sleep and the Course) (A 1 Verlag, Munich 2004). Herburger, who held the celebratory speech at the 25th BERLIN MARATHON 1999, once again presented incredibly detailed descriptions of the (extraordinary) races in which he recently participated.

He read the chapter "Comrades":
"Strongly chlorinated water, enough to make you cough, was passed out in cups, but it still ran out. The only thing left was Coca Cola in little bottles, which was disastrous. First the blood sugar rushed up, bringing terrible power with it as well as a coinciding good mood, an almost manic optimism, and then came the crash."

Highlight with Alan Sillitoe
The absolute highlight came with the appearance of Alan Sillitoe (London), the author of "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner“ (first in German by the Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 1967). The loneliness of the long distance runner has become a common phrase even outside the circle of runners.
Sillitoe, who himself was never able to run long distances due to an illness, offered insights about the creation of this story in the 1950s, and then read together with the actor Frank Arnold (Berlin), alternating English and German:

"All day long they could spy on us to see if we were being good and working hard and performing our sport, but they were not able to x-ray down to our most innermost being to find out what was going on there. And that is the best part of long distance running, as it is the time when I can really think."

MARATHON Illustrated Book 2003 - as a thank you
The long-time Race Director of the BERLIN MARATHON, Horst Milde, who is responsible for initiating the literature marathon and was present at the readings with his wife Sabine, thanked all of the authors afterwards and presented them with the illustrated book on the 30th Anniversary BERLIN MARATHON 2003.

In conclusion:
Bring on the 16th Literature Marathon in 2005. And maybe it can again be carried out in cooperation with the “5th internationalen literaturfestival berlin".

Dr. Detlef Kuhlmann


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