Be a berlin legend!

What is the 2:01:39 Challenge?


Whether running shoes, hand bikes, wheelchairs or inline skates: How many kilometers can you cover in 2 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds, the world record time that Eliud Kipchoge set at the BMW BERLIN MARATHON in 2018?

How can I take part?


There will be an official 20139 Challenge App available for free for Android and iOS devices from September 21, 2020 on. The app accompanies you through your challenge with exciting features and immerses you in the ultimate event atmosphere of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. You are curious? Then download the app. Register for free and take part. You will find the download links here soon.

There will also be a website for the app, on which you can also add your personal performance dashboard and that of the entire community with, among other things, can see the total km of all participants.
The same registration data that you use in the app apply to the landing page. User accounts that may already exist for other of our events cannot be used to register the challenge.

When will the Challenge take place?


You can set your record on September 26 or 27, 2020. You are free to decide when to take on the 2:01:39 challenge within the two days.

Do you lack the community feeling at an individual start? Unfortunately we can't stand together at the starting line this year, but you don't have to do without a common #berlin42united community experience:

No matter where you are in the world, start on September 27, 2020 together with other challengers all over the world for the virtual community start at 9:20 a.m. CEST. Ready - Set - # 20139

How can I track my Challenge?

The tracking of the distance you have covered runs via the 20139 Challenge App, which will be available for iOS and Android devices from September 21, 2020.

You will also experience a live experience that is worth listening to, with goosebumps guaranteed, and other exciting features. Alternatively, the data can be transferred from other tracking devices - just without the legendary feeling.

Where will it take place?


In your home town or where you are on the 2:01:39 Challenge weekend. Run on your favorite course or look for a fast loop in your neigbourhood. If the freely chosen route is located on public roads, all traffic regulations must be observed.


Download the app from September 21, 2020 on

Please be patient - the final 20139 Challenge app will be available for free in the app stores from September 21, 2020. Test-Registrations in pre-installed versions are expressly not considered as registration to participate in the 2:01:39 challenge.

What else should I know?

Prepare yourself well and don't overdo it on the day of your 2:01:39 Challenge. There are still many challenges waiting for you afterwards. Pay attention to the applicable distance and hygiene rules. Motivate a friend to take part. Stay tuned via our newsletter or social media channels on Facebook and Instagram so you don't miss anything.


Be a Berlin legend!

Be ready for a legendary event!

Berlin legends

It’s the people who write history – in the past and today. Get to know some of our BMW BERLIN-MARATHON legends. #berlinlegend


Christa Vahlensieck

1977 - First BERLIN-MARATHON world record

  • Between 1974 and 1980 the BERLIN-MARATHON was staged in the Grunewald forest west of the divided city of Berlin.

    In 1977 the West German national marathon championships were staged on the same day as the BERLIN-MARATHON using the same course and the same infrastructure. The men’s championships race started at noon time, the women’s race thereafter. Christa Vahlensieck broke her own world record from 1975 by almost six minutes clocking 2:34:48 hrs.

Ronaldo Da Costa

1998 - World record by a Brazilian

  •  The 25th edition of the BERLIN-MARATHON in 1998 was quite unexpectedly crowned with a world record (called „world best“ until 2004). Ronaldo Da Costa from Brazil improved the 10 year old mark of 2:06:50, set by Belayneh Dinsamo of Ethiopia, by 45 seconds clocking 2:06:05 hours.

    This way the Brazilian became the first runner ever to cover the marathon distance with average kilometer splits of under 3 minutes performing an average running speed of more than 20 km/h. He improved his personal best time by 3:02 minutes.

    The women’s race was won by Belgian Marleen Reeders in 2:25:22 whereas wheelchair legend Heinz Frei from Switzerland took first place in 1:24:19. First in the women’s wheelchair division was Edith Hunkeler (1:47:53) from Switzerland. A record number of 27,621 participants had applied for the 1998 BERLIN-MARATHON.

Uta Pippig

Without Borders through Berlin

  • Anyone who hears the name Uta Pippig immediately thinks of the Brandenburg Gate. Born in Leipzig, she marked the beginning of a new era for the capital and for the BERLIN-MARATHON in 1990 with her amazing run as an East German across the borders of the divided city. Just three days before Reunification, the route led through East and West Berlin for the first time.

    World-Class Athlete behind the Iron Curtain

    Uta Pippig began training for the long distances at the age of 13. In 1986, not yet 20 years old, she won the marathon at East German Championships in Leipzig. However, when she travelled to the Tokyo Marathon in 1988, her trainer Dieter Hogen was not allowed to accompany her. She came in second with a time of 2:32:20 hours. The political conditions in the GDR restricted one’s opportunities for self-determination, and in the case of Uta Pippig, limited her opportunities to establish herself in the international world of sport.

    The Fall of the Wall and Uta Pippig's Breakthrough

    1990 therefore marked a breakthrough in many respects, not only with regard to Germany as a whole, but also for Pippig's career. The Wall had fallen, and the participants of the BERLIN-MARATHON were able to pass through the Brandenburg Gate on the new route for the very first time. For many participants, this was a special moment. Uta Pippig describes this moment in our Fall of the Wall anniversary video interview with an incomparable feeling of freedom that still inspires her in all of her endeavors today. This day was crowned by her victory over 42.195 kilometres and a new course record with a time of 2:28:37 hours.

    International Success Story

    Inspired by this experience, Uta Pippig appeared on the world stage of running in the early 1990s and collected marathon victories in Boston and New York. She was named ‘Runner of the Year’ by the Association of International Marathons and Road Races in 1995 and 1996. Between 1990 and 1996, she won seven marathons in these cities, and added to her list of exceptional achievements by competing in the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992 (7th place in the 10,000M) and in Atlanta in 1996.

    After Sport is before Sport

    Despite such a diverse athletic biography, looking back, Uta reflects: “My victory in Berlin on that day (1990 BERLIN MARATHON) was probably the emotional highlight of my career.”  She is still our running expert for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON and certainly deserves to call herself a Berlin Legend!

Kenenisa Bekele

A sensational Comeback

Kenenisa Bekele wins the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON 2019

 Winner Kenenisa Bekele

The winner after the 2019 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON

© Andy Edwards

 Kenenisa Bekele | before the marathon

Winner of the 2016 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON

© Andy Edwards

Tegla Loroupe

1999 - Kenyan beats her own world record

  • 1999 was another record-breaking year for the BERLIN-MARATHON. Tegla Loroupe from Kenya broke her own world record by four seconds clocking 2:20:43 hrs adding one more jewel to her impressive career as a distance runner.

    The winning time on the men’s side was world class, too. The winner was Kenyan Josephat Kiprono (2:06:44) while 2nd place finisher Takayuki Inubushi from Japan set a continental record for Asia (2:06:57). The combined times of the men’s and the women’s winner represented another „world record“.

    The wheelchair race was taken one more time by Heinz Frei from Switzerland. It was his 12th victory in the German capital whereas Monica Wetterström (Sweden) won the women’s competition.

    A record number of 27,112 runners registered for the race.

Haile Gebrselassie

2006-2009 - Quadruple victory of the Ethiopian running legend

  • Between 2006 and 2009 Haile Gebrselassie won the BERLIN-MARATHON four times and broke the world marathon record twice.

    In 2007 the Ethiopian superstar clocked 2:04:26 hrs shaving 29 seconds off Paul Tergat´s world record mark set in Berlin in 2003. One year later the he ran 2:03:59 and became the first runner ever under 2:04 hrs. He won also in 2009 but failed to better his own record due to increasing temperatures.

    A record number of 35,783 runners finished the marathon in 2008.

Gladys Cherono

Nothing is impossible for Gladys Cherono

  • Last year, Gladys Cherono ran faster than any other female before at the BMW BERLIN MARATHON. With an unbelievably strong personal best of 2:18:11, she broke the previous course record set by Mizuki Noguchi of Japan (2:19:12, 2005). As clear as this victory, the Kenyan formulated her plan for the race on September 29th. “My goal now is to win for the fourth time in Berlin.” That would make the 36-year-old the new record holder for the BMW BERLIN MARATHON, ahead of running legends Uta Pippig, Aberu Kebede and Renata Kokowska, all of whom have won three times in the capital.

    In 2012, Gladys Cherono won the 5,000m and 10,000m races at the Track and Field Championships. No other woman had ever accomplished that before. In the same year, she gained notable attention with her performances in the half-marathon races in Ra's al-Khaimah and in Prague. Two years later, the powerful woman became World Half Marathon Champion in Copenhagen with a time of 1:07:29.

    She doubled that distance for the first time in 2015, achieving a second-place finish at her marathon debut in Dubai (2:20:03). A few months later, the Kenyan then made the leap to the top of the podium at the BMW BERLIN MARATHON. This success landed her a key spot in the marathon circus. Shortly after her victory in Berlin last year, she said in an interview with regard to the women’s world record in the marathon: “With hard work and hard training, nothing is impossible. I know that one day I will break this record.” Maybe this day is closer than we think. Gladys Cherono is keeping things exciting.

 Gladys Cherono | before the marathon

3-times winner of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, Course record (2018)

© Andy Edwards

Naoko Takahashi

2001 - First female runner ever to break the bareer of 2:20 h

  • The 28th edition of the BERLIN-MARATHON saw yet another world record being broken when Japanese Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi won the race. Her winning time of 2:19:47 hrs made her the first female runner ever to break the bareer of 2:20 hrs. Since Naoko Takahashi was some kind of cult figure in her home country millions of spectators watched the live tv coverage of the BERLIN-MARATHON in Japan.

    It was the 3rd world record at the BERLIN-MARATHON which gave proof of the flat and fast course of this race. But Takahasi´s record lasted only one week. At the Chicago Marathon Kenyan runner Catherine Ndereba ran almost 1 minute faster (2:18:46). A record number of 25,916 runners finished the race.

    The wheelchair division was won by Swiss legend Heinz Frei (1:30:24) whereas fellow Swiss wheely Edith Hunkeler took the women’s title (1:47:46).

Paul Tergat

2003 - World record of former long-distance rail star Paul Tergat

  • On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the BERLIN-MARATHON the start and the finish line were moved to Strasse des 17. Juni near Brandenburg Gate - a location which made for iconic photos. Former Kenyan track star Paul Tergat went for a fast time in his 6th marathon. Paced by his training companion Sammy Korir he reached the finish line in a new world record time of 2:04:55 hrs with Korir just one second behind him.

    Yasuo Hashimoto of Japan won the women’s division in 2:26:32. A record number of 30,837 runners reached the finish line. After 29 years race director Horst Milde who invented this marathon retired and handed the baton to his son Mark who serves in this position until today.

Mare Dibaba

Work hard, be respectful, and plan.

  • “As this is a big competition, implement your training well in the race and run with full confidence.” – This is Mare Dibaba’s advice for all runners racing in Berlin.

    Mare won the marathon world championships in Beijing 2015 and is ready to toe the starting line of the 2019 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON.

    Interview with Mare Dibaba

    Tell us your story. How did your love and passion for running come about? 

    After my participation in school competitions and victories I started to gain confidence. I kept on competing with my friends and started with regular training.

    What motivated you to pursue a career as a professional runner? 

    My good results in school competitions.

    What was your biggest success so far and which success was the most important for you? 

    My biggest success was winning the 2015 Marathon World Championship in Beijing. It was a very important victory for me, because I told myself and family that one day, I will bring home a gold medal for my country. At the 2015 World Champion that dream came true.

    Which traits do you most appreciate about yourself? 

    My strong capacity of taking my work seriously. I am able to maintain focus and don’t get distracted from my work by any other situation around me. 

    What is your life motto?

    Work hard, be respectful, and plan.

    In your opinion, what makes a strong athlete, what skills and characteristics do they require? 

    Having a good discipline towards athletic requirements, focusing on work, and following the instruction of coaches.

    Who is your athletic role model? What inspires you? 

    Fatuma Roba and Derartu Tulu from the previous generation. And Tirunesh Dibaba from the current athletes.

    What kind of message do you want to give to women who are looking for a career in running? 

    My advice to women who want to run is to stay strong and keep a healthy base. The situation around them may be difficult when they progress towards their goal but, they have to say “no” to things that will hold them back. Most important is to listen to coaching instructions and give full attention to work.

    What does your life look like outside of competitive sports? 

    Mostly, I spend my time working at home and spending time with my family and watching movies.

    To what extent has success in sport also contributed to success in your life? 

    Sport (Athletics) has changed my life completely. Before, I didn't even have a cent for public transportation, but I am now standing by myself and even help my family to have a better life. 

    You are a powerful woman—tell us more about it. 

    I come from a family of farmers and I was helping my family in house holding throughout my childhood, this gives me strength to pursue my athletics career.

    What is your life motto? 

    Never give up stay strong.

    Why do you want to race the BMW BERLIN MARATHON?

    Since the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is in a good season and has a flat course, it's a good race to run fast and improve my PB.

    What motivates you on days when things are not going so well? 

    My patience and knowing there are also tomorrow.

    Do you have any tips for the participants in the BMW BERLIN MARATHON? 

    As this is a big competition, implement your training well in the race and run with full confidence.

    What is your goal for the BMW BERLIN MARATHON 2019? 

    My goal is to improve my personal best in the 2019 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON.

Katharina Rumpus

From parking lot to first place

  • "Do not compare yourself with others, concentrate on yourself and make the most of your opportunities." Inspired by her athletic role model Allyson Felix, coupled with down-to-earth nature and sense of purpose, Katharina Rumpus has worked her way up in the world of inline skating—a true story of a superwoman.

    The heralded story of the football player, who metamorphoses from a sandlot kid to a million-dollar professional, is often told in the media. However, this kind of storytelling may more likely be attributed to a resourceful manager than to the truth. In the case of Katharina Rumpus, she truly did have a very modest start to her career. Currently, the 25-year-old from Powerslide Matter World Team is one of Germany's fastest inline skaters.

    Katharina has achieved this success despite beginning her internship as a student teacher in Neckarsulm at the start of the year. Dealing with a dual life is new for the athlete from Heilbronn, as she has previously had to organise her school and university studies around her sports. The aspiring secondary school teacher for maths and sports admits frankly, “But I also have to say that the internship is much more stressful than studying. I am not as flexible with my time and I had to reduce my distances significantly.” But all the hard work appears to be worth it for her. Katharina has always known that she wanted to go to college. Her desire to teach is great, or, as the Heilbronn woman expresses sympathetically: “The internship is a lot of fun. I just love working with children and sharing my knowledge with them.”

    Katharina does what she loves well—very well. That’s the way it was with skating, too. Actually, she never planned on becoming a professional athlete. That simply developed out of her love and enthusiasm for sports. Early on, Katharina was on skis—not skates. She started her sports career at a young age at the club Ski Sport Franken Heilbronn. In order to stay fit over the summer months for the upcoming winter season, Katharina trained with her brother on inline slalom skis, always under the aegis of her father. Naturally, she also took part in competitions in this discipline due to her irrepressible desire for victory. At one of these competitions, the family found out about inline speed skating by accident. “We were hooked immediately, and that is how the insane journey began”, the superwoman describes that decisive moment. What followed were odd training sessions on illuminated parking lots at night or on crummy bike paths. Her father provided the training, and his son and daughter skillfully executed it. When asked about the miserable conditions for training, Katharina says: “That did not bother us; quite the contrary, it made us tough and incredibly versatile. The competitions not only provided an opportunity to compete with our peers, but also a chance to skate on good tracks and real road courses.”

    The concept worked. Katharina Rumpus won three junior world titles. And in contrast to the story about football players told earlier, the woman from Heilbronn did not immediately look for the big money. Although she did start training at a pro camp, she also continued her academics. During her studies, the aspiring teacher focused on the marathon. Her ability for self-reflection helped her come back stronger from defeat. In 2016, Katharina became the European Champion over the 42.195-km distance and in 2018, she won the BMW BERLIN MARATHON.

    Back to the current day. If you think that Katharina Rumpus might not be a main contender at the BMW BERLIN MARATHON in 2019, since, as she mentioned, she has not been able to get in as much training as she was used to, be warned. “I think I’m in good shape despite everything,” she modestly assesses her situation. Her athletic role model is Allyson Felix, so this statement takes on a very different meaning. She tells all women, who, like Katharina, want to be successful on skates: “Do not compare yourself with others, concentrate on yourself and make the most of your possibilities.”


Legendary Hot Spots at the BMW BERLIN MARATHON

Cult factor guaranteed

The Victory Column

  • The Siegessäule, or Victory Column, also lovingly called “Golden Else” by the people of Berlin, is the counterpart to the Brandenburg Gate for the BMW BERLIN MARATHON participants. Just as the historic gate stands as a symbol for the imminent finish, the 67m-high column is something like the opening signal for the race. After only a few hundred metres, the runners reach the so-called "Great Star” roundabout, a central space in the Tiergarten park, where “Golden Else” has resided since 1939. Previously, madame was at home in what is today the Platz der Republik (near the Reichstag building), commemorating the German wars of unification. The architect Johann Heinrich Strack had it built on behalf of Wilhelm I between the years 1864-1873. In the late 1930s, the victory column was transferred to the Great Star. The pillar survived World War II almost unscathed. Nevertheless, there were several remedial measures taken to fix her up over the following decades. The last time “Golden Else” was touched up was in 2011, when, honouring her nickname, they brightened her up with 1.2 kg of new gold leaf painting. Tip: Photographers enjoy the motif of the runners at the Victory Column very much, so smile while passing by.

Schöneberg City Hall

  • At approximately km 23, the participants of the BMW BERLIN MARATHON reach the Schöneberg City Hall—and will find scores of spectators lining the course. Large crowds are nothing unusual at the city hall in Berlin's Tempelhof-Schöneberg district. Approximately 800,000 people gathered for an official demonstration in response to the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961, in front of the city hall on the square then named Rudolph Wilde Platz. On June 26, 1963, US President John F. Kennedy spoke in front of thousands of spectators at the same place, giving his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. Incidentally, three days after the assassination of Kennedy, Rudolph Wilde Square was renamed John F. Kennedy Square. A freedom bell (a gift from the Americans) has been hanging in the tower of the Schöneberg City Hall since 1950. Every day at noon, the largest secular bell in Berlin is rung. Depending on their pace and what wave they started in, the runners might get a chance to hear it ringing. The building and its interior frequently serve as film locations, for instance for the hit series “Babylon Berlin”.

The Berlin-Tempelhof Airport

  • On October 30, 2008, the Berlin-Tempelhof Airport was closed after 85 years in operation—even if some travel portals still attempt to book flights through the airport! The decision in 1996 to close the airport was primarily based on plans to construct a new major one in Berlin Brandenburg (BER). This purported new airport is also causing confusion again and again on the flight portal websites, since BER was long supposed to be finished but does not yet exist.  But the “Berlin Airlift” definitely took place.  This initiative of the Western Allies ensured that the inhabitants of Berlin would be provided with the most important foodstuffs after the Soviet occupying forces blocked land and waterways for supply. From June 26, 1948, to September 30, 1949, approximately 277,500 supply flights made by the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Air Force delivered about 2.35 million tons of cargo to the Berlin-Tempelhof Airport. The supply aircraft were coined “candy bombers” after an American pilot began dropping mini parachutes with chocolates and other sweets as he approached the city, and “Rosinenbomber” (raisin bombers) when a British plane was supposedly bringing raisons for the bakeries for the Christmas holidays in 1948. Today, the facilities at the former airport are used, among other things, as a trade fair location, including the BMW BERLIN MARATHON EXPO. The associated property is called the Tempelhof Field, and serves as an event site, such as for the BARMER Women’s Run.

The Brandenburg Gate

  • Everyone in the Federal Republic of Germany actually carries around this legendary Berlin Hot Spot in their pockets, as the back of the German version of the 10, 20 and 50 Euro-cent coins are adorned with the Brandenburg Gate, the desired destination for all starters at the BMW BERLIN MARATHON. After reaching km 41, the participants arrive via Glinkastrasse at the boulevard Unter den Linden. From here you can see the Brandenburg Gate, behind which the finish awaits. These final metres are unforgettable. The spectators are packed along the course, cheering on the participants to the finish. The runners get to pass through the Brandenburg Gate on to their deservedly celebrated completion of the BMW BERLIN MARATHON just a few metres further. As soon as the medals are dangling around their necks, many participants turn back to have a look at the early-classicist 20-meter high triumphal gate. At the request of King Friedrich Wilhelm II, it was built according to designs by Carl Gotthard Langhans between the years 1789-1793. Originally, it was the crowning glory of the grand boulevard Unter den Linden. Today it is considered more as a symbol of reunited Germany. During the separation of Germany, the border between East and West Berlin passed directly by the Brandenburg Gate. In 1990, for the first time, the course of the BERLIN MARATHON led down the middle of the Brandenburg Gate. Due to the great demand for a chance experience that, the limit had to be set at 25,000 starters.

The Berlin Olympic Stadium

  • For the 1916 Summer Olympics, the Equestrian Centre Rennbahn Grunewald was converted into the German Stadium. But due to World War I, the Games did not take place in 1916. For the 1936 Summer Olympics, the German Stadium was then almost completely demolished, and the present Olympic Stadium was erected in its place. In the following years, there were constant reconstruction measures, such as the partial roofing for the Football World Cup in 1974. Currently, the sports venue has a capacity of almost 74,500 seats. The main occupant is the Bundesliga club Hertha BSC, which hosts its home games here. But the venue in the area of Berlin known as Westend is home to many other sporting events, as well. Every year in late summer, the track and field elite gather here to compete in the International Stadium Festival (ISTAF), the world's largest athletics meet. The jewel of the venue is considered to be the blue Tartan track. On August 16, 2009, Usain Bolt set a still-standing world record here in the 100m finals at the World Athletics Championships with a time of 9.58 seconds. However, the blue track was not popular with everyone at the start. During its introduction, conservationists expressed concern that waterfowl could inadvertently land on it. As it turned out, the blue track did not get confused with a body of water. For the participants in the GENERALI BREAKFAST Run at the BMW BERLIN MARATHON, the Olympic Stadium marks the end point for the 6 km course.

The Berlin Wall

  • "The Wall must go!" chanted the citizens of the GDR during the so-called Monday demonstrations during the peaceful revolution in the fall of 1989. This was the beginning of the end of a border system that was 167.8 kilometres long and 3.60 metres high that separated East and West Berlin from one another. The so-called inner-German border between West Germany (the old Federal Republic) and East Germany (GDR) was also delineated by a wall. The total length was 1,378 kilometres. Now, thirty years after reunification, only remnants of the former border fortification system can still be found in Berlin. The participants of the BMW BERLIN MARATHON will pass by pieces of this history, for example, at the Brandenburg Gate and at Potsdamer Platz. When the 30 km point is reached, where no trace of the Wall can be found, we hope that is also true figuratively for the runners, when they reach this milestones that is known for the phase when they “hit the wall”. At the finish, all the finishers become part of the #berlinlegend and not “just another brick in the wall”, as sung by Pink Floyd on the album “The Wall”.


    Attentive visitors to the capital will still repeatedly stumble across traces of the Wall. They can be found in three variants: as paving stones embedded along its former path in the pavement, by a bronze strip integrated into the ground, and by coloured markers on the hinterland borders. Those interested in this history should visit the Wall Museum in the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, as well as the memorial to the Berlin Wall in Bernauer Strasse.