One cannot really say when Mark Milde’s “Journey” really began. Through his family, the concept of “marathon” was undoubtedly part of his vocabulary earlier than for most kids. For the past ten years he has been the race director.
Whether it is passing out the race numbers, filling the race material bags, helping at the refreshment points, stuffing the press envelopes, or accompanying the top runners on his bike—there is hardly a job at the Berlin Marathon that Mark Milde has not done since he first volunteered in 1981. Nonetheless, the final days before the race still remain exhausting and nerve-wracking for the 41-year-old.
“We never know if something will happen at the last moment that we will have to react to. That can be a sudden change in the weather, an injury for one of the top athletes or some volcano breaking out that will affect flights. You simply cannot plan everything,” Mark Milde states. “Even years of experience cannot help against this uncertainty, since we have to be able to deliver everything on the spot and we cannot simply push back the start. If everything goes well, a certain calm arrives on Saturday evening and the stress makes a little space for the excited anticipation. A successful inline skating race is also good for the general mood.”
Mark Milde rarely has trouble falling to sleep the night before the race. By then, his level of exhaustion is high enough. Sometimes a glass of wine helps him relax. The alarm rings at 5:15 at the latest at 5:15, and the night is done. At breakfast he checks in for the latest updates and decides what concerns have to be addressed. Then he is off to the start/finish are.
In the next few hours, his focus is on the team with the top athletes. When the starting shot is fired, he hops on a motorcycle and accompanies the front of the pack. But he is not only at the finish line to greet the top runners. For Mark Milde it is one of his honours to greet and show his respect to every marathon runner up until the broom wagon arrives. And then it is still not time to call it a night. After a brief team meeting, he heads over to the hotel of the top athletes and then later on to the MARATHON party. Only after all of the ceremonies are over, around 11 pm, does the feeling set in that another BMW BERLIN MARATHON has successfully come to an end.
“For me, it is less exhausting to run a marathon than to organise one in this position,” Milde says, who has run the marathon in 2:50. Maybe someday he will have a chance to run “his” marathon. But until then, he is doing everything possible to ensure that the BMW BERLIN MARATHON is once again a great experience for both the runners and spectators in 2014. “Will there be a world record? That would be great, of course. But it is more important that at the end all of the runners make it home healthy after the race.”