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Today’s Berlin Cross Country Race was a starting point for road running in Germany 40 years ago

2004-11-07

A race that was probably the most significant one for the development of running in Germany was started in Berlin today. It will be exactly 40 years ago tomorrow (Monday) that a group of sports students staged the Berlin Cross Country Race for the first time. While cross country races had not existed before in Germany there was another breakthrough on the 8th November 1964.

Fun runners had generally not been allowed to enter running events before. So the event in former West Berlin was one of the first races in Germany at which non club members had a chance to compete. Since the local athletics federation would not have given permission for such an event the official organiser of the first cross country race was the College for Sport of the Berlin University. But the organisers were experienced middle distance runners of SC Charlottenburg Berlin which is one of Germany’s most traditional athletics clubs. The first edition of the race in 1964 drew more than 700 participants which was quite a sensational number at that time.

After the successful start other races developed during the next few years. And it was in 1974 when the first Berlin Marathon was organised by SC Charlottenburg Berlin. Until today SCC-Running has staged nearly 350 running events with more than 1.38 million participants. Big races besides the real,- BERLIN MARATHON for example include the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON in spring or the AVON RUNNING Women’s Race held in May.

Horst Milde, who was the race director of all the running events staged by SC Charlottenburg until he retired earlier, had been among the organisers of the first event back in 1964. Another one who helped staging the event 40 years ago was Bodo Tuemmler. The Berlin middle distance runner won the race in 1964 and four years later won the Olympic 1,500 metre bronze medal in Mexico City. Among other prominent names you can find in the winners list is Grete Waitz who ran in 1978.

Today’s Berlin Cross Country Race had 1,205 participants. It is staged annually in a Berlin forest (Grunewald). Winners of the 8.8 k long distance event were local runners Steffen Berger (29:30 minutes) and Carmen Rüdiger (32:50). Horst Milde and Bodo Tuemmler started the race. Altogether 92.926 runners took part in the 41 editions of the Berlin Cross Country Race.

MEN:
1. Steffen Berger 29,30 min LAC Berlin
2. Sebastian Strempler 29,44 min LAC Berlin
3. Sascha Stephan 29,56 min LAC Berlin

FRAUEN:
1. Carmen Rüdiger 32,50 min SC Potsdam
2. Lina Böcker 35,17 min SCC Berlin
3. Lina-Kerstin Schink 36,58 min -


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