Just two more weeks, and the big moment has come: 40,000 runners will get together for the 40th anniversary edition of the BMW BERLIN MARARTHON. Here are more stories round about the 42.195 kilometres through Berlin.
Back to 1990: First course through the Brandenburg Gate
The fall of the Berlin Wall also meant the rise of the BERLIN MARATHON into the elite class of international road races. Just one day after the Wall was opened, on November 10, 1989, the phone rang at the house of the head organiser, Horst Milde. It was Michael Coleman, sports editor for the London Time and active promoter of the BERLIN MARATHON. He convincingly told the still sceptical Horst Milde: "The BERLIN MARATHON is going to be the race of the year -- but it has to lead through the Brandenburg Gate." Said and done.
Back to 1976-1980: 2 competitions in 1
There was an oddity at the refreshment stations a while back: The runners were offered salt tablets. Some believed that it was important to replace the salt reserves that were sweated out. That is now out-dated, as is the experiment from that took place from 1976 to 1980, when a second competition was integrated into the BERLIN MARATHON. Athletes were able to run either the marathon or 25K; but this caused problems for the organisers, as (mostly older) athletes crossed the finish claiming to have run a marathon, rather than the 25K.
Back to 2001: Solidarity after the terrorist attack
The BERLIN MARATHON had a political dimension this year as well. The event successfully demonstrated a sense of empathy, international understanding and peace. In memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001, the participants passed over their heads a banner bearing the words "United we Run''.
Back to 1988: Berlin TV Tower closed due to overcrowding
Another odd occurrence demonstrated the importance of the BERLIN MARATHON in East German prior to the fall of the Wall: Many East Germans went to the top of the East Berlin TV Tower to catch a glimpse of the start on the other side of the Brandenburg Gate. In 1988 and 1989, as the organisers later found out, the TV Tower had to be closed due to overcrowding.
Back to 2000: Joschka Fischer, at the time German Foreign Minister, ran
There was one very famous runner among the 34,090 registered runners: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. Together with Herbert Steffny, a successful marathon runner in the 1980s from Freiburg, he reached the finish in 3:54:29. The security guards who accompanied him on his race switched out at the half-way point