The roundabout “Wilder Eber” is a classic spot on the course of BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. Many runners look especially forward to this highlight. The atmosphere here is always loud and fun with many spectators. The SCC cheerleader group, which is led by Nathalie Krause, plays important part in creating this party feeling.
The idea to invite cheerleaders to the course came in the 1990s. Nathalie Krause remembers being asked one day during dance class if she wanted to be involved, and she immediately said yes. She admits today that she had no idea then what she was getting into. Twenty years later, the dance and exercise teacher cannot imagine a marathon without cheerleaders—although the group can hardly be reduced to “just” cheerleading. Their choreography also integrates plenty of hip-hop and breakdancing moves.
For the 10- to 14-year-old boys and girls, the marathon weekend starts on Saturday morning, when they help put the runners and spectators in a good mood at the traditional 6 km Breakfast Run from the Charlottenburg Palace to the Olympic Stadium. The 17- to 30-year-old dancers present a rhythmic warm-up that anyone can participate in, in addition to an on-stage performance.
The biggest challenge, however, awaits the group on Sunday. They gradually work their way up to the conditioning they need to make it through the 4-hour cheerleading marathon at Wilder Eber, where they perform together with a samba band. Slowly increasing the intensity and length of training, in the last few weeks before the marathon they meet every second day. With almost 20 years of experience at the marathon, Nathalie Krause knows exactly what her team needs to prepare. “I always tell my gals and guys that they have to go to bed early on Friday night to be fit for two tough days,” Nathalie Krause states. “There is plenty of time to party afterwards.”
On Sunday, she can hardly wait for it to get going. “The performance oriented runners only see us for a brief moment; they don’t really get to see the choreographies and pyramids,” Nathalie Krause says. “But there are always lots of spectators at Wilder Eber. We have a set programme with about five or six choreographies. That takes about half an hour, so we repeat that several times over the course of the marathon.”
In the end phase, when many of the runners have become walkers, the boss is no longer so strict about precision. That is time for improvisation. “Sometimes a few of the marathon runners join in the dancing, or we will run along a little with them to cheer them on. It is always great to see an exhausted face light up suddenly. We also need a few breaks so none of us collapse either.”
In addition to the more experienced cheerleaders, every year new faces join the group, which trains at Natty’s Dance Factory in Charlottenburg. They have never had any problems keeping up their numbers. Again this year, there will be a few dancers whose “marathon journey” is just beginning.