45th BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on 16 September 2018

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Walkers at the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON 2004

Health-oriented walking continues to grow in importance in Germany


Walkers at the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON 2004 – part of the marathon since 1999
Health-oriented walking continues to grow in importance in Germany.

There was a premiere at the 26th BERLIN-MARATHON on September 26, 1999. The power walkers participated in the BERLIN MARATHON for the first time.

Hartwig Gauder
One man, once a world renowned athlete, got this initiative rolling. Hartwig Gauder, who was Olympic champion in the 50 km and received a donor heart in 1997, was the front man in Berlin for the introduction of power walking.

48 power walkers were registered in 1999, and 31 reached the finish. The oldest participant in the field, Friedegard Liedtke (VfL Tegel) also made it in 6:55:39. Friedegard Liedtke is 83 years old – she is, one must note however, an experienced marathon runner.
Hartwig Gauder, who was recognised as a great role model and supported by the Berlin spectators along the course, reached the finish in 5:48:14.

One story about Hartwig Gauder must be mentioned. He started in the New York City Marathon in 1998 under the strict control and instructions of the event organiser and his doctors not to be faster than 6 hours. Hartwig Gauder, however, reached the finish in Central Park in 5:56:00 - and was disqualified!

Power walking is now firmly established in the real,- BERLIN MARATHON with a limited number of enthusiastic participants who all do their best to finish in the prescribed time. Health-oriented walking continues to grow in importance in Germany, especially for older persons, as well as for those just starting with sports or for athletes with orthopaedic problems.

138 walkers started at the 31st real,- BERLIN MARATHON (88 women and 50 men) - 128 walkers finished (82 women and 46 men).
The walkers are now also well prepared, and walk the course in between 5 and 6 ½ hours.
There is no ranking for the walkers (and no awards ceremony), but rather an alphabetical list with the finishing times.

Egon Bethge
The last one across the finish was Egon Bethge from Friedrichshain-Berlin, who was greeted by the announcer and respectively celebrated by the spectators. He finished in 6:25:39 – walking and jogging, the transition flowing. However - Egon Bethge is 81 years old, and this was his second marathon. He started at age 80. He was a teacher of German and History. He only started with sports upon retiring, first with swimming and jogging, and now he has landed at the marathon. He is an unconventional athlete to be marvelled at, and one could see his joy in reaching the Brandenburg Gate clearly on his beaming face.

Blümchen- "220" – well-known
Even older than Egon Bethge is Heinrich Blümchen from Herford – who is now 86 years old.
He is well-known among the Berliners—he wears the BERLIN MARATHON Jubilee Club race number "220" - and has successfully finished the BERLIN MARATHON 20 times.

Heinrich Blümchen ran more than half of the marathon this year. He ended the race at km 22, waving friendlily to the crew of the “broom vehicle“ that picks up the last stragglers. Luckily, Heinrich Blümchen knows when to listen to the signals of his body.

Egon Bethge and Heinrich Blümchen are running role models!

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