Countdown is starting: Looking back into the history of the BMW BERLIN MARATHON

Just four more weeks, and the big moment has come: 40,000 runners will get together for the 40th anniversary edition of the BMW BERLIN MARARTHON. We are starting our countdown today. From now on, every week we will dab into marathon history and present a small story about the 42.195 kilometres through Berlin.

Back to 1974: On October 13th the first BERLIN MARATHON was launched in front of Mommsen Stadium on Waldschulallee. The course looped around twice through the Grunewald Forest. Günter Hallas and Jutta von Haase were the winners.

Back to 1981: First start at the Reichstag
The first BERLIN MARATHON through the city started out in front of the Reichstag on September 27, 1981. 3,486 runners from 30 countries registered, and 2,583 made it to the finish--that was a huge success, with about 250,000 spectators watching. And it made the BERLIN MARATHON the largest German city race.

Back to 1998: 10-year-old record is broken
As a complete surprise, Ronaldo Da Costa of Brazil broke the 10-year standing world record in a time of 2:06:05. He celebrated with a cartwheel at the finish.

Back to 1982: East Germans participate in the BERLIN-MARATHON
Many runners in East Germany had the dream to participate in the BERLIN MARATHON. Those living near the border were able to follow the race on the radio on SFB. But for a few runners, the dream of participating in the BERLIN MARATHON became a reality. Retirees, with permission to leave the country, or those who had permission to travel to visit family in West Germany had started secretly slipping in among the starters in 1982. 
The organisers knew about the runners from the other part of Germany, but it would have been too dangerous politically to welcome them in any official manner. Had the East German secret service found out about their participation, the runners would likely have faced consequences. So, most of them participated secretly. One runner from Thüringen registered under his cat's name in order to remain unknown; at later races he used his dog's name and then the name of his village.

Back to 2000: Pacemaker runs the whole course and wins
The men's race ended with a new situation. After the big favourite, Fabián Roncero (Spain), had to give up at the 30 km mark due to muscle problems, a pacemaker ran the complete distance and won: Simon Biwott (Kenya), an experienced marathon runner who came in ninth at the 1999 World Championships in Seville. He only missed his personal best time by one second, winning in 2:07:42.

Back to 1997: A new miracle begins
The year before the big anniversary race in 1998, the BERLIN MARATHON introduced a promising premiere for the future: the integration of the inline skaters. 446 skaters raced in 1997, and the numbers skyrocketed over the next few years.
This year we will have the 17th edition of the Berlin-Marathon Inlineskating!

Counting back: Adding up 40 years
40 years BMW BERLIN-MARATHON means that over 640,000 have crossed the finished line. Together they cover a distance of 27.004.800 km which equals running 35 times to the moon and back - and who knows, another 40 years and even that might be possible...

Back to 2009: Temperatur record at the BERLIN-MARATHON
He who has spent the summer 2009 in Germany may remember heavy rainfalls and several thunderstorms. But no room for depressing greyness on September 20th in Berlin, since beautiful sunshine and temperatures up to 27°C were giving all participants a hard time sweating. Some of them were probably longing for that well-known continous rain.

Back to 1989: Marathon youngsters start in their own competition
The mini-MARATHON for school students premiered. 758 kids ran in teams; the top ten times within each team were calculated for the course that was made up of the last 4.2195 km of the original course. Thus, the total for each team equalled that of a full marathon distance, so the kids could compare their times with the champions. There was a grand finish with lots of spectators, which was to motivate youth to come from outside of Berlin to participate in the mini-MARATHON in the years to come.

Back to year II: Second race - unique happenings: The winning couple set an example in 1975, that has never been achieved again in the history of the BERLIN-MARATHON. OSC member Ralf Bochröder (2:47:08) and his wife Christin (3:59:15) were the first and only married winners of the marathon so far.