Be a berlin legend!

Be a Berlin legend!


The road to becoming a #berlinlegend is as diverse as our participants. Follow our selected athletes on the Road 2 Berlin Legend and get inspiration from our RUN FOR JOY activities and contests.

  • No matter what motivation and personal story brings you and all our athletes to the starting line on September 24-25, you are all united by the goal of finishing the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON and becoming part of our history as a #berlinlegend.

    In the coming weeks, we will be following some of the participants—and some of those involved in the race—on their Road 2 Berlin Legend stories, tackling different topics such as diversity, preparation as the key to success, ups & downs and the anticipation of the race. See for yourself how diverse the Roads 2 Berlin Legend can be.

    In addition, together with our title partner BMW, we will enhance your Road 2 Berlin Legend experience with exciting articles and contests to help share the RUN FOR JOY feeling. Join Philipp Pflieger for a 5D Lab analysis and learn how to optimise your workouts. In addition to priceless experiences, you can win tickets to a Coldplay concert in Glasgow, because music is an important motivator for running training. Experience Philipp Pflieger in a wind tunnel and get some final tips for getting the best out of your race at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON.

    In the end, only one thing counts: You are not alone on your Road 2 Berlin Legend: RUN FOR JOY!


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In our column "3 Questions - 3 Answers" we asked some of our running faces and - of course - got very diverse answers. Once again, this is an indication of how differently our participants approach training for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. Click directly in and look forward to the next episode with new questions to our running faces!

You are on the home stretch of your Road2 Berlin Legend! First it's weeks, then it's just a few days and you're in the starting line-up on the Straße des 17. Here are our tips for September.

Checklists of the previous months you can find here >>

  • Here are our advices for the last weeks:

     The long runs are done now. Plan shorter tempo runs now.

     In the last week reduce your training. Regeneration is all you need now.

     Check the weather forecast for race day and get your racing outfit together

     Fuel your body, take in some more carbohydrates and eat what you like best.

     Plan your personal side event programme for the Berlin weekend.

     Have a look at the course. Where could your friends and family wait for you?

     Relax. It will be great. You are going to be a Berlin Legend.

     Download the PayPal app for iOS or android for cashless payments during the event.

The Road 2 Berlin Legend is diverse!

Our series - Faces and stories

KATJA FISCHER – is the rookie among the top female runners


Katja came to running as a heptathlete and did not start competing in the marathon until 2021, but she quickly joined the ranks of the top German runners. She hopes to break the 2:40 hour mark for the first time in Berlin.

    • Name: Katja Fischer
    • Year of birth: 1991
    • Place of residence: Berlin
    • Runner: for approx. 5 years, before that, heptathlete
    • First marathon in: 2021
    • BMW BERLIN-MARATHON participation(s): 1x
    • Motivation to run: The freedom to chase your own dreams
    • Motivation to run the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2022: to be at the start for the first time in my new hometown with my new team!
    • Quote: ".... Still, pure running has always appealed to me the most; I was able to watch my mum run marathons from an early age and always knew "I'd like to do that too."

  • From the heptathlon to the marathon: For most athletes like Katja Fischer, running is more of a love-hate relationship—heptathletes usually don’t get too excited about running long distances. 100 m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 m dash, long jump, javelin throw—these are all events that require a lot of speed. Endurance is really only needed to survive the many different events over the course of two days and then the final 800 m race at the end. But almost no heptathletes are all too enthusiastic about that.

    The main thing is “M” - from multi-sport heptathlon to the marathon for the medical doctor

    That wasn’t the case for Katja Fischer. For her, the two stadium laps at the end were always the best part of the heptathlon: “And in training I often wanted to run more, but I wasn’t allowed to because they always said that endurance running makes you slow and is bad for the first six events.”

    Somehow it was logical that she eventually gave up the heptathlon and began concentrating entirely on running. However, that also had a lot to do with the fact that she had completed her medical studies in Tübingen and it was becoming more and more difficult to reconcile her job and training when she started working as a doctor. “For heptathlon training, you always need to have access to facilities, equipment, training partners and a trainer,” she explains. “Running is much more flexible and is therefore much easier to combine with my job as a doctor.”

    Since finishing her studies, the distances have become longer and longer, and it became apparent that Katja Fischer is well fit for running - although at age 31 she is actually a bit too old for the term “new talent”. But since she was able to run the 800 m in 2:11 minutes in her first season as a runner, you can indeed call her a running talent.

    She first entered the running radar in 2019, when she won the half marathon at the Cologne Marathon in 1:15:18 hours, making it into the German top ten for the 21.0975 km distance.“

    That was so much fun with all the spectators and the surprising great success that after that I started to seriously look into a half marathon start at the European Athletics Championships, which were supposed to have taken place in Paris in 2020.”

    Low point: partial tear of the tractus

    She got into better and better shape, and she was planning on competing at the European Championships qualification at the half marathon in Barcelona at the beginning of 2020. But then during the final training, Katja Fischer reached one of the lowest points of her running career .

    ”I twisted my knee running on frozen ground.” The diagnosis: a partial tear of the tractus, the tendon plate on the outside of the thigh that connects the hip and knee. The consequence: a three-month break from sport and the shattered dream of competing in the European Athletics Championships in Paris, which was cancelled anyway due to the COVID pandemic that had since broken out.

    New start in Marathon Team Berlin

    After that, it took her all of 2020 to get back to her old performance level. In 2021, wearing the jersey of LAV Stadtwerke Tübingen, she set numerous best performances over shorter distances—and she ran her first marathon. In Berlin.

    “That was my most exciting running experience so far, even though I had hoped to run faster than the 2:45 hours it ended up taking. The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON really sparked my love for (running) Berlin.” The morning after, her decision was made: she wanted to change her life, to once again put all her energy into running in order to work on her big dream: A start for Germany in a national jersey. The plan for making it a reality had already started a few weeks earlier.

    She met coach Tobias Singer at a track race in Berlin in the summer of 2021. Around the same time, her coach in Tübingen, Steffen Grosse, had announced that he would not be able to continue training her. “My training was up in the air at the time, and I was glad to have found someone like Tobias to take over my training from afar,” Katja Fischer recalls.

    After the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, one piece of the puzzle fit right in with the next: Tobias Singer became head coach of Marathon Team Berlin, took over the training of the new figureheads Rabea and Deborah Schöneborn and welcomed Katja Fischer into the training group, who quit her job as a doctor in Tübingen and moved to Berlin with her partner at the beginning of the year. Since then, she has taken on an hourly job as a doctor at the SMS Berlin sports medicine competence centre, which is also the official sports medicine partner of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON.

    She trains at a professional level with the Schöneborn twins—although they are running marathons at a completely different level than the Swabian, with best times of well under 2:30 hours. “That spurs me on and provides great motivation,” she says, describing the first six months of training alongside the two, who will start together for Germany at the European Championship Marathon in Munich on August 15. She thus gets to tackle preparation for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON together with the two of them.

    At the beginning of July, the trio will travel to St. Moritz in Switzerland for altitude training. “That fits well—the twins will complete their marathon preparation there, and I’ll be starting mine.” And then on September 25th, she hopes to break the 2:40 barrier, which would put her in a broader group of top German marathon runners. “I’m really looking forward to the marathon, which will become a home game for me, where everyone will really feel the passion that Berlin has for running”.

STEFAN ORBEN – always runs with a partner


Stefan got silver in Berlin in the 2021 German Para Athletics Marathon for runners with visual disabilities.

    • Name: Stefan Orben
    • Year of birth: 1992
    • Place of residence: Rüdesheim am Rhein
    • Runner: since 2019
    • First marathon in: 2021
    • BMW BERLIN-MARATHON participation(s): 2021
    • Motivation to run: Stress relief, relaxation, competitions and fitness
    • Motivation to run the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2022: The atmosphere and participating in the German Para Athletics Championships.
    • Quote: "Even though I can't see anything at all, running gives me a sense of the world - I feel and hear the environment more intensely with my other sensory organs and therefore enjoy it every time."

  • A life completely without sport. For Stefan Orben, that was the reality until he was 26 years old. After an accident when he was a toddler, he had to avoid the risks of collisions and violent movements to not endanger the small bit of vision he had left. He had lost his left eye, but with his right he could still make out shadows. But over the years, the remaining eye also caused more and more problems. In 2018, the pain became so severe that he decided to have the right one surgically removed as well. Total blindness was the result. But it also meant he got the doctor’s permission to play sports. “I no longer had to worry about my vision tests, so I could then try out many new things. The operation was definitely the right decision; I feel much freer since then,” says the 29-year-old. 

    From the Baltic Sea to the Rheingau - from bouldering to running

    He has most enjoyed climbing and running. While he almost gave up bouldering after moving from Flensburg to Rüdesheim in the Rheingau region, he began running more and more. During the week he trains mostly alone on the treadmill, but on the weekend he trains together with his partner, running along the Rhine or through vineyards.

    The two of them also venture out on trails. “It all depends on the interaction with your guide and a feeling for the ground,” says Stefan Orben, who is also involved with charity runs.

    His partner is an experienced marathon runner. “Thomas has been running since 2007 and has completed the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON ten times,” says Stefan Orben.

    On September 25, the two will run together again on the Berlin course, which will also be the venue for the German Championships for blind para-athletes in 2022. Thomas will guide Stefan through Berlin, just like in 2021, when the two finished the biggest German marathon together for the first time.

    A more intense experience than for sighted people

    “When you’re blind, it’s an even more intense experience than for sighted people,” says Stefan Orben. “I hardly experience any sensory impressions during training. Most of the time we run on asphalt, on flat routes along the Rhine. And then I only hear our steps on the asphalt; not much else happens.

    At a city marathon like this, with the bands, the loud spectators, the many other runners around you and the smells of a big city, it gives me an incredible amount of energy. "Time flies”, he continues.

    At their first marathon in Berlin, however, the two got so caught up in the euphoria that they went out too fast at the beginning of the run and then collapsed at kilometre 30. “We took 4:56 hours; we should be faster this time. Four hours is our goal,” says Stefan Orben, who writes books for a living.

    So far, he has mainly self-published children’s and youth books. In the summer, his first novel will be published by a larger publisher. “It’s about coming out,” reveals the writer, for whom running is an ideal balance to writing.

    5 - 7K training runs at the end of May—preparing for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in autumn

    He was on a good path towards the four-hour marathon, with a good pace during most of his spring training runs. “We were running a stable 4:40 to 4:50 per kilometre,” he says. But then COVID got him. “It really knocked me out at the end of April, and by the end of May I could barely run five to seven kilometres at a stretch again,” he recalls.

    Now he hopes to get back into shape quickly so that the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON will be the experience he wants it to be. And when he has crossed the finish? “Then we will meet up with friends, my sister and other runners in the evening and reflect on our experiences over a good meal.”

PHILIPP PFLIEGERs greatest wish: to be fit on the starting line!


Philipp Pflieger is one of the best-known marathon athletes in Germany. After achieving best times, an Olympic qualification, but also premature race withdrawals, the only thing that counts for his 5th participation in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is getting fit again after a break due to injury.

    • Name: Philipp Pflieger
    • Year of birth: 1987
    • Place of residence: Regensburg
    • Runner: for approx. 28 years, since first time at the Bambini-Run
    • First marathon in: 2015
    • BMW BERLIN-MARATHON participation(s): 4x
    • Motivation to run: Freedom!... and the competition
    • Motivation to run the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2022: Hopefully to be fit enough to stand at the starting line after an injury break to then crack the best time!
    • Quote: “For me, running means FREEDOM in the best sense of the word!”

  • Philipp Pflieger is one of the absolute top German runners and meanwhile also one of the most famous marathon athletes. With his first marathon time of 2:12:50 hours—run at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2015—he managed to fulfill a childhood dream: to participate in the Olympic Games, which happened in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Today, Berlin is like a second home to him. Many know and recognise Philipp, who feels at home on the paths through Tiergarten and elsewhere. He has many memories associated with the course, including difficult ones, like when he had to end the race early in 2017 and 2019. September 2022 will mark his fifth performance in the capital.

    “This is running for me”

    “Running means freedom for me in the best sense of the word.” When asked about what running means to him besides achieving his competitive goals, this is his spontaneous answer.

    His father used to go running after work and also participated in marathons—even breaking the 3-hour mark—and as a little boy Philipp soon wanted to run with him. Running is a great way for him to relax, balance out his stress and let his mind wander.

    And today it also means freedom on a completely different level, because now Philipp can make a living from running. His childhood dream of the Olympic Games, which came about while watching the Atlanta Games in 1996, actually came true exactly 20 years later.

    Preparation, training, milestones

    “I wish I had more time.” Currently, Philipp is not yet able to train at 100 percent due to an injury and has to take it more cautiously, which is why there is still a question mark behind his start in September.

    Normally, it would be important to start the build-up and the twelve-week marathon training with a solid basic fitness, which includes running 200 kilometres per week in the intensive phase. You have to put in many longer runs, but in between Philipp always sets recovery phases and reminds his body that shorter distances are ok too.

    Participation in 10K races, on the track too, which are numerous in the summer, are part of the program. About five weeks before the marathon, he takes part in a half marathon to test his form.

    To support himself mentally, Philipp uses visual impressions, such as photos and memories of his personal highlight, the 2015 marathon.

    Successes and setbacks

    Philipp is a communicative person who likes to be around people. For him, one advantage of running is that it is not an elitist sport; marathons are run together by all kinds of people with all kinds of different backgrounds.

    As a top runner, however, you win and fail in the public eye. On the one hand, Philipp is naturally cheered on and recognised in Berlin and asked for autographs. He likes engaging in conversations with people. “Failure is nothing reprehensible, it’s part of the process of getting better,” Philipp says.

    “But failing in public is still hard. Fans try to cheer you on to persevere. But when you can’t go anymore, it’s sometimes it makes more sense to quit.”

    How does a top runner reward himself?

    After a hard training session, especially now in summer, Philipp rewards himself with a cool non-alcoholic beer. Especially after sweet sports drinks, bars and gels, it does you good. When a successful competition is over, however, he will enjoy an alcoholic beverage, too.

    After all, professional athletes push themselves to the limit over long distances and have to be very disciplined long before the competition. “If you’ve won a competition, you should appreciate it,” says Philipp, “and put being an athlete aside for a moment; after all, you’re a human being, not a machine.” 

    Berlin is special

    On the big day in Berlin, Philipp will ride a bus to the starting line with the other elite athletes.

    Last year, his coach Renato Canova accompanied him. This time Philipp’s wife Barbara, who is also a successful runner, will join him in Berlin. In addition, Jonas Fischer will be at his side, cycling along the course and taking care of Philipp’s personal catering.

    And last but not least, Felix Plinke, his manager and good friend who organises everything, will be there to make sure that Philipp can concentrate completely on the competition. Philipp has already participated in numerous SCC EVENTS races, including the adidas Runners City Night and the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON, and feels quite at home in the city.

    Fans along the course call out his name. It is precisely the fact that not everything has always gone perfectly here in Berlin that makes Philipp approachable and likeable—even for the pros, not everything always goes according to script.

    That is the marathon.

AYO DADA – is head coach of the adidas Runners

Ayo comes from London. In addition to the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, he and his running crew seek out unusual challenges, such as the legendary road race "The Speed Project" in the USA.

    • Name: Ayo Dada
    • Year of birth: 1989
    • Place of residence: London
    • Runner: for approx. 10 years
    • 5 marathon participations in total
    • BMW BERLIN-MARATHON participation(s): 2x
    • Motivation to run: Switch off, reduce stress, health and fitness, motivation to travel around
    • Motivation to run the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2022: Looking forward to feeling the energy of the crowd along the course from start to finish.
    • Quote:  “If your journey as a runner is to continue, you need a strong will, consistency and patience. And in a way, that’s also true for life.”

  • For Ayo Dada from England, the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is something like a starting ramp to unique running experiences. In 2016, the Londoner ran his first marathon ever here—almost without any preparation and then also with a slight injury on race day. And yet, six years later, he still raves effusively about the experience he had on that September Sunday: “The hospitality gave me a completely warm feeling of welcome. You forget what people say, but you never forget the feelings they create in you.”

    Second home: Berlin

    And although he has spent his whole life in London, for him every trip to Berlin is now like coming home.

    “My first marathon in Berlin gave me so much positive energy,” he says, talking about the promise he made to himself after he crossed the finish line at the Brandenburg Gate in 4:58 hours in 2016.

    “I will come back next year. With a sensible preparation, where I focus on my path to the marathon.” 

    Marathon as a mirror of life

    And that’s exactly what he did. And learned in the process that running marathons also provides lessons for life. “If your journey as a runner is to continue, you need a strong will, consistency and patience. And in a way, that’s also true for life,” he says.

    And so he came to Berlin in 2017 well prepared for his second marathon. It was almost two hours faster than his debut: he reached the finish line after just 3:01 hours, having run the entire 42.195 kilometres together with two friends.

    They ran in the pouring rain in Berlin. “The atmosphere was nevertheless electrifying,” recalls Ayo Dada. He finds it particularly fascinating that at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON you also see parts of the city that you would never discover on a sightseeing visit.

    “Normal neighbourhoods where people stand on the street early in the morning in the rain to cheer on the runners to reach their goals—that’s amazing,” says the 33-year-old, while also considering how the runners might give something back to the people cheering them on.

    “Maybe we’ll inspire one or two of them to start running too and then have such fantastic experiences themselves one day.”

    He thinks of this especially with regard to the many children and young people standing along the course, giving high fives and cheering them on. “Not everyone has to run, but the idea of having goals and getting the best out of yourself is super important, especially for children and young people.”

    Ayo Dada passes on this spirit at home in London on many levels. In his main job, he works at Virgin, in the division with which Virgin founder Richard Branson assists start-ups.

    “We support people in developing and growing their businesses,” says Ayo Dada.

    Ups and downs at “The Speed Project”

    He is also now head coach at the adidas Runners in London. With them he has climbed the highest peaks and crossed the deepest valleys while running—but not in Berlin. In 2019, six of the London adidas Runners took part in “The Speed Project”—an unsanctioned footrace for amateur running teams: it is 550 kilometers non-stop from Los Angeles through the desert to Las Vegas.

    While one person runs, the other five recover, eat and drink until it’s their turn to run again over the 340-mile course.

    “We came in second place. That was the highlight of my running life so far,” says Ayo Dada, who, however, also survived quite a few low moments along the way.

    “We were all extremely tired and exhausted. There were phases when I didn’t want to run at all. But the team pushed me on. We all knew there was more at stake here than just ourselves,” he recalls.
    His training, on the other hand, is everyday life as most runners know it: In the mornings and evenings, you can often meet him along the small canals that criss-cross London with their quiet running paths.

    During the day, he trains in the royal parks like Regent, Hyde or St. James, which are close to his office in Paddington.

    And on September 25, he is certain to come to Berlin well prepared and ready to experience that marathon feeling again, which is so extraordinary for him.

MANDANA NOURI – runs with a hijab in her home country.


Mandana Nouri is the Iranian record holder for the marathon distance. Able to run carefree and unhindered in a short running outfit, she is excitedly hoping to finish in under 2:45 hours.

    • Name: Mandana Nouri
    • Year of birth: 1976
    • Place of residence: Tehran, Iran
    • Runner: for approx. 7 years
    • 6 marathon participations in total
    • Motivation to run: to get faster!
    • Motivation to run the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2022: fast course and a beautiful city! I want to run my best time!

  • When she runs outside, she wears a veil, long sleeves and long trousers. Always. Even when it’s already over 20 degrees Celsius by early morning and the temperature rises above 35 degrees over the course of the day. Which is pretty normal in Tehran in the summer.  Mandana Nouri trains for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON under these conditions. The 45-year-old is coming to the German capital as the Iranian record holder and wants to improve on her best performance, which she set in Valencia, Spain, last December with a time of 2:45:23. So far, she is the only Iranian woman to run a marathon in less than three hours.

    In shorts at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON

    She will be able to enjoy running in the same gear as thousands of other women on the streets of Berlin—in a shirt and shorts.

    In Iran, Sharia law forbids that. The Islamic legal system disenfranchises women in many areas. And it forces them to wear clothes that are not great for running. “At home in Tehran, I’m only allowed to run in shorts and a shirt on a treadmill in the gym,” says Mandana Nouri, “because that’s where we women are among ourselves.”

    In general, for her training sessions, she almost always goes to secluded sports complexes where it is acceptable for women to do sports. There, however, she also has to complete long runs on laps that are barely longer than 3,000 to 5,000 metres. “But I love running so much that I don’t mind,” she says.

    A car accident started her passion for running

    She discovered her love of running almost 20 years ago, after a bad car accident in which she broke her cervical vertebrae, hip and shoulder. After the injuries had healed, the doctors recommended that she swim as physiotherapy and to rebuild her muscles, which she did diligently. And she got in better and better shape.

    Then, after her medical studies, she had to move from Tehran to a small town on the border with Azerbaijan for further training. “There was no swimming pool for me to use there,” the runner recalls, “so to continue my training, I started running on a treadmill.”

    Back in Tehran, she began working as a doctor and discovered outdoor running for herself. “When you love running, you can’t stop,” she says today, explaining why she kept increasing her training—until she was ready to run her first race in 2015: Ten kilometres in Dubai.

    In 2019, her name appeared for the first time in international results lists with the NR notation, which stands for “national record”. In Amsterdam, she ran the half marathon in 1:22:27 hours. She improved this record to 1:16:55 hours in Berlin in spring 2022—and still raves about her experiences at the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON: “There were people everywhere cheering us on.

    That gave me so much energy. And then I found a great group that ran exactly my pace. I didn’t have to run a single metre alone all the way to the finish. That was a great experience.”

    The pandemic provided new opportunities for training

    Her marked improvements, however, also have to do with COVID. The pandemic outbreak helped the doctor to gain completely new training opportunities. While many others were confined to their homes during this time, Mandana Nouri had unprecedented freedoms.

    “I was able to travel to Kenya for altitude training,” she says. This was made possible by distance learning, which was became common in Iran during the pandemic. Mandana Nouri has a ten-year-old daughter, and she could attend classes from anywhere in the world, as long as they were being held online. So, in 2021, the family travelled three times for a few weeks to Iten, Kenya, where Mandana Nouri trained for the marathon in Valencia and for the Berlin half marathon.

    There she not only met world-class runners like the German record-holder Amanal Petros, but also found her current coach. Hugo van den Broek is an ex-marathon runner from the Netherlands who has a best time of 2:12 hours, has lived in Iten for many years and is married to the 2:24 marathon runner Hilda Kibet. Mandana Nouri now receives her training plans from him, which she follows while working as a doctor in Tehran.

    If all goes as planned, she should be able to set a new Iranian record at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. And if she really does beat 2:45? “Then I will enjoy the time in Berlin even more with my husband and daughter.”

FELIX RIJHNEN – is one of the fastest on 8 wheels


In 2019, Felix won the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON Inline Skating. The victory was as valuable to him as his world championship titles.

    • Name: Felix Rijhnen
    • Year of birth: 1990
    • Place of residence: Darmstadt
    • Profession: Police Superintendent
    • Team: Powerslide Racing
    • Inline skater: since 1995
    • First marathon in: 2001
    • BMW BERLIN-MARATHON participation(s): 12
    • Motivation to skate: Freedom, speed, elegance
    • Motivation to skate the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2022: Hells Bells at the start and the ride through the Brandenburg Gate
    • Quote: “When you are skating in the marathon in Berlin, no matter where you are on the course—in the leading group or at the end of the field—it’s just a breathtaking feeling.”

  • Pure excitement at the sound of “Hells Bells”

    “For me, it means pure excitement every time I stand at the start and ‘Hells Bells’ sound from the loudspeakers,” says Felix Rijhnen, who never tires of competing in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, even after twelve times: “The marathon is simply the supreme discipline for me.”

    Felix Rijhnen - first German winner of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON Inline Skating in 2019.
    He is considered to be the most successful German skater—and not just since 2019, when he became the first German ever to win the men’s race at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON.

    What makes him stand out beyond that? His unwavering will and, above all, his infectious enthusiasm and positive charisma.

    Victory in Berlin was the fulfillment of his childhood dream

    His unwavering willpower took Felix all the way to Beijing. There he competed at the Olympic Games in speed skating for the first time this winter and showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.

    But his heart—as he emphasises again and again—lies with inline speed skating. He has been doing this sport since he was five years old. In the course of his career, he has collected many titles and medals at European Championships. In 2017, he won his first gold medal at the World Championships in the 10,000-point race, and a year later he won the World Championship title in the marathon.

    Winning the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON had a very special significance for him. “To someday win the biggest marathon in the world one day was something I dreamed of since I first participated, and that that happened in 2019 was simply phenomenal,” says Felix.

    “When you are skating in the marathon in Berlin, no matter where you are on the course—in the leading group or at the end of the field—it’s just a breathtaking feeling.”

    For Felix, it is clear that every skater should participate in Berlin at least once. It makes no difference to him what time you finish with: “The ride through the Brandenburg Gate simply can’t be topped.”

NICOLE ALTENHOF  – is in charge of the young runners

Nicole lives running with passion, commitment and heart and loves to pass on this enthusiasm to the youngest runners in the Mini-Marathon and Bambini Run.

    • Name: Nicole Altenhof
    • Year of birth: 1981
    • Place of residence: Berlin
    • Runner: for approx. 20 years 
    • 5 marathon participations in total
    • BMW BERLIN-MARATHON participation(s): 2
    • Motivation to run: Switch off, reduce stress, health and fitness.
    • Quote: “That’s my favourite part: watching children in motion. And not just the kids for whom exercise is a part of everyday life, but also for those who don’t normally move that much.”

  • The finish at the Brandenburg Gate, when emotions run wild. Or the anticipation at the start, when the moderation, the music, the nervousness and the tension combine to create that tingling sensation that everyone who has ever taken part in a major running event knows. Or the moments in between, when the spectators along the course transfer their energy to the runners. For most people, these are the best moments at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. For Nicole Altenhof, however, all of this is surpassed by the joy she always feels on the Saturdays before the marathon when the little ones run in the Bambini Run at the former Tempelhof Airport and when the older children run in the mini-MARATHON at the Brandenburg Gate.

    “It makes my heart soar”: children in motion

    “That’s my favourite part: watching children in motion. And not just the kids for whom exercise is a part of everyday life, but also for those who don’t normally move that much,” she says.

    Nicole has been employed by the Berlin marathon organiser SCC EVENTS since 2016, and she devotes half of her working time engaged in sponsor support and marketing, and the other half to SCC EVENTS incentives to get children moving.

    These not only include the children’s runs, which are part of the programme at almost all SCC EVENTS competitions, but also campaigns at Berlin schools, which SCC EVENTS supports the Senate Administration in organising. “The aim of running and exercise clubs is to create the runners of tomorrow and encourage all children to be physically active,” explains Nicole Altenhof.


    Almost 30,000 Berlin schoolchildren take part in cross-country races

    One of these campaigns and initiatives has even reached the levels of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON and the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON in terms of the number of participants: Every autumn, up to 30,000 pupils take part in the district competitions for the Berlin schools’ cross-country race.

    Of these, 3,000 then qualify for the final, which always takes place in spring. And this is organised every year with the help of SCC EVENTS. It usually takes place in the Olympic Riding Stadium, which is currently being renovated, so now the Rehberge stadium and the surrounding Volkspark currently are serving as an alternative venue.

    SCC EVENTS provides staff for this purpose who, together with about 15 teachers and 30 to 40 pupils, ensure that everything runs smoothly. Recently, coaches Dieter Hogen and Tobias Singer from Marathon Team Berlin were also present. “Primarily to answer questions and stir up enthusiasm for running,” says Nicole Altenhof, “but also to look around for talent that might be considered for a future in the SCC EVENTS running team.”

    Nicole Altenhof doesn’t need any outside inspiration to run anymore. She has been running regularly for 20 years and currently prefers to run in the countryside around Lichtenrade, where she recently moved. She has already completed five marathons. Among them are Berlin and New York, two of the most desired destinations for runners worldwide.

    “But you can’t compare the two,” she says. “They are both wonderful, and participating is an amazing experience.”

JENS VÖGELE – traded his bike for marathon shoes


    • Name: Jens Vögele
    • Year of birth: 1970
    • Place of residence: Pforzheim
    • Runner: since 2000
    • Total Marathon participations: 13x
    • Participation(s) in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON: 2003 and 2011
    • Best marathon experiences: New York, London and Berlin
    • Motivation to run: Improve fitness and reduce stress
    • Motivation to run the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2022: Berlin is just fun, I ran my previous best time there in 2003, and I want to top that this year!
    • Quote: “Before my first marathon I had only done two long runs – and I ran just over four hours without any training. Since then I've been fascinated by running marathons - I like the challenge, especially the really big races with lots of spectators.”

  • ​​Usually, the running-cycling story starts in mid-life something like this: After years of running, the knees, Achilles tendons or ankles start to hurt. The doctor gets a visit, therapy options are tried out. Injections, physiotherapy, maybe even an operation. But in the end, the doctor often says: “Cycling is also a nice sport.” Of course, rolling on two wheels is much easier on the joints than running with the hard impact of every step.

    10,000 kilometers and more per year

    In Jens Vögele’s case, however, the story is quite different, almost the other way round. For decades he was an ambitious racing and mountain bike rider. He usually covered 10,000 kilometres or more a year. He took on the greatest challenges that exist for amateur cyclists on this planet: He rode the 540 kilometres and surmounted 3627 metres of altitude at the race from Trondheim to Oslo in Norway on his racing bike in one piece. At the Cape Epic in South Africa, in seven segments he pushed his limits on his mountain bike. And, of course, he rode a few of the stages of the Tour de France to feel what the pros feel on the legendary course.

    But five years ago, it suddenly stopped. “I think I overdid it,” says Jens Vögele, for whom even in his professional life it was all about racing bikes, mountain bikes and the sport of cycling. As editor-in-chief, he managed the magazines Mountainbike, Roadbike Elektrobike and the extreme sports magazine Limits at Motorpresse Verlag in Stuttgart. In 2019, he left the cycling business. “At the end of my 40s, I wanted to use my experience to do something new,” he says, explaining why he then founded a communications agency, which he still successfully runs today with his two partners.

    Fun running through the first city marathons

    Now, he no longer makes the 30-kilometre ride from his home to the publishing house in Stuttgart every morning. Instead, he now runs much more than he rides his bike. “Running used to be a kind of love-hate relationship,” he recalls. Like most cyclists, he used it as a means to an end, especially in winter to keep in shape. He didn’t really enjoy it. That changed with his first city marathons, which he completed in the early 2000s without much running training, but with the foundation of tens of thousands of kilometres on his bike. “It’s just awesome how you can discover a city along 42.195 kilometres,” he enthuses about his experiences, which have led from his first long run in Karlsruhe to Berlin, London and New York, for a total of 13 marathons.“

    14 marathons in 22 years

    Den 14. wird er am 25. September beim BMW BERLIN-MARATHON laufen. Seine Vorfreude ist riesig, auch wenn er einen so langen Lauf immer noch als „erbarmungslos“ bezeichnet. „Auf dem Rad hast du ja immer mal Phasen, in den du entspannen kannst“, vergleicht er seine beiden Lieblingssportarten, „beim Laufen gibt es das nicht, da musst du dich auch anstrengen, falls es mal bergab geht.“ Und dennoch hat das Laufen bei ihm das Radfahren als Sportart Nummer eins abgelöst. „Es passt mittlerweile auch besser in meinen Alltag“, sagt er. Früher hat er oft samstags und sonntags vier Stunden und mehr im Sattel gesessen. „Da bleibt kaum noch Zeit für was anderes.“

    Das ist beim Laufen anders. „Oft reicht schon eine Stunde, um sich gut zu fühlen und einen Trainingseffekt zu haben“, sagt Jens Vögele, der aber daneben weiterhin viel vor allem auf dem Mountainbike trainiert. Und so hat er sich mit Anfang 50 in die läuferisch beste Form seines Lebens gebracht. In Berlin will er auf jeden Fall schneller sein als bei allen seinen Marathonrennen zuvor. Dafür muss er unter 3:44 Stunden bleiben. Insgeheim hofft er sogar auf mehr: „Vielleicht geht es ja irgendwie Richtung 3:30 Stunden.“

ANDREAS POHLMANN – knows the wishes of our top runners

Andreas Pohlmann has been a volunteer at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON for 15 years and is in charge of the “Top athletes in the start and finish area” team.

    • Name: Andreas Pohlmann
    • Year of birth: 1965
    • Place of residence: Schwielowsee
    • Runner: for over 20 years 
    • BMW BERLIN-MARATHON Participation(s): 19 times in total
    • Motivation to run: Health, fitness and switching off
    • Motivation to participate in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2022: To take care of the top athletes as head of department with the volunteer team!
    • Quote: "Since I don't run myself, but "look after" the top athletes at the start and finish, my goal is to make sure that these top athletes .... feel well taken care of at the event."

  • When it comes to achieving top times or even world records, the stars at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON can’t let anything distract them from their performances. Their full focus has to be on a fast race. Andreas Pohlmann is there with his team of 15 at the start to ensure that they can concentrate fully on the task at hand. He has been a volunteer at the BERLIN-MARATHON for 15 years, and for the past four years he has been in charge of the department that looks after the top athletes in the start and finish areas.

    Just normal people—only much faster than the rest

    His job includes making sure the tents are set up so the elite runners have a place to get ready before the start. He also makes sure that they have drinks and anything else they might need. Andreas Pohlmann and his team promptly send the stars off to the start and then bring their clothes to the finish to have them ready for them when they are done.

    “For me, it is really special to be able to do this job for both the marathon and the half marathon,” says Andreas Pohlmann. “It’s exciting to meet the best runners and see how they handle the pressure.” There is one thing he is happy about every time: the top athletes are indeed among the best in the world. But that hasn’t gone to their heads.

    “They are usually relatively relaxed and friendly. They’re just normal people.” Just significantly faster than everyone else.

    Running experience from 19 marathons doesn’t hurt

    The 57-year-old can empathise a bit with how they must be feeling before the start. He has run 19 marathons himself, ten of them in Berlin.

    That makes him a member of the Jubilee Club. He started running around the turn of the millennium, after giving up football to have more time for his family.

    Running on his own time was easier than being on a team and was more compatible with family life. “And running is wonderful for clearing your head.” Today, however, he no longer laces up his running shoes. His training over the last few years has left its mark, and his knees aren’t so happy anymore.

    The banker also spends a lot of time driving around Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, advising customers on securities.

    “And since I still have family and friends, there is not a lot of time left over,” he explains. Nevertheless, he does go to the gym regularly, does indoor cycling, and goes out and about on his bike.
    “And maybe running will work out again at some point.”

    Finally, everything is back to normal

    Until then, he is happy that even if he can’t run himself, he at least remains connected to running through his involvement in the marathon and half marathon in Berlin.

    This year he is particularly looking forward to the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, “Because I hope that after the COVID pandemic, everything will finally be back to normal as much as possible this year.” He has been responsible for looking after the top stars for four years, “two of which were COVID years”.

    Since his roles and responsibilities were still quite new to him last year, he hopes to approach this year with even more routine and relaxation. “And then I will be able to enjoy it even more.”

    He may soon be able to achieve another goal as well: After the race, he would like to celebrate a little with his team. That hasn’t happened yet due to COVID. But hopefully this year they can make up for it.

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


Laura Andreea

How to become a Berlin Legend

  • This past weekend, the #20139 Challenge took place with nearly 15,000 endurance athletes worldwide who completed as many kilometres as possible in 2:01:39 hours, wearing running shoes or inline skates, on hand bikes or wheelchairs.

    Here you find the story of Laura. She participated at our GENERALI Berlin Half Marathon 2018 and was running the #20139 challenge on her home track in Ås, Norway.

    The beginning
    I have been quite sporty during high school and university. Well, if you count dancing & clubbing as sport, I was a top athlete there!!!  Fast forward 20 years, a kid and 2 countries later here was I, a middle age, overworked, stressed, slightly depressed and seriously overweight woman who’s idea of a marathon was Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings extended edition while enjoying the best recovery drink, a large glass of Pinot Gris.

    Getting the kick
    My running story started almost 4 years ago. One March day in 2017 I went for a run. I managed 2km before my lungs caught fire and my knees started shaking. The crazy thing is that I liked it! So I started coming back for more. And more. Panting and puffing like Thomas the tank engine.

    After a while, like a miracle, I found my breath under running but I lost the weight. And I realized how lucky and grateful I am for being able to walk, to move and to run and that there are so many people less fortunate. That was sort of a “click” moment and I found my mojo and my motivation in a bunch of kids affected by a rare genetic disease who will never be able to walk or run.

    Keep going
    That September I ran my first 5k at a local race and then my first 10k at Oslo Marathon. Slow and steady. It was so great when I got my first bling!

     Then still on runners’ high, I made a wage with my husband that in the spring of 2018 I would be running my first HM. And he signed me up for Berlin HM. It was an awful winter and I trained mostly on treadmill, I was scared it wasn't enough. But I did run Berlin HM, I did finish it, and it was incredible, the crowd, the beer, the music and the whole atmosphere! Glorious!

    Becoming a marathoner
    One thing led to another and in November the same year I tackled one of the most difficult marathon races in Europe: Athens Marathon, the original 42.2 distance. I was over trained, injured and low spirited and when we passed through the villages where the fires killed so many people in July that year and we were met by villagers cheering us and bearing olive branches while the smoke was still lingering in the air, I completely collapsed mentally.

    I cried and sobbed for a few km, thinking about giving up. It was hot and sunny and everything hurt. Then I remembered that I may be running for myself but I also put one step in front of the other for those rare kids whose smiles light up the room. And for the rest of the race I said one kid’s name for each km I ran and I did not allow myself to fail any single one of them. I sprinted for the last 200m, the entrance to the Panathinaikos stadium was exhilarating. I was a marathoner, 1% of the world's population!

    Staying motivated
    Last year I struggled to improve my time but I was so eager to do so that after a great race in Prague, I messed up in Tallin and I was on the verge of DNF in Amsterdam but I called upon my inner pitbull spirit and managed to finish. This year was tough to keep motivated. Virtual races may be an interim solution but I miss the crowds, the excitement, the music, the noise of a real race. Am I disappointed I don’t get to run in Berlin on September 27th? Of course I am but on the bright side I have one more year to train for it!

    Some people told me that they started running and training because of me, that my transformation from a potato couch into a runner was their inspiration.

    I mean, I am no athlete, I am not fast, I am a back-packer, I am far from being a legend. I am no spring chicken either! But I like running. I like the peace of mind and the inner dialogues a long run brings about, I like blood pumping during a fartlek push, and the feeling of accomplishment once the training is done, the endorphins storm. And I am resilient and stubborn. And I never-ever give up because I am some kids hero and when I put that running t-shirt on and I am matching it with my pink fluffy tutu skirt, it feels like taking up a superhero cape!

      The #20139 challenge is a wonderful idea, thanks for sending over the number and the bracelet, it was one heck of a surprise. I promise I’ll do my best, watch out for the tutu!! ;-)



    Lauras #20139 challenge on September 27, 2020
    September 27th I was supposed, as so many of us, to be at Brandenburg Gate crossing the finish line of the Berlin Marathon. The fact that 2020 proved to be a totally unexpected kind of year is an understatement. And when the opportunity to run the #20139 challenge presented itself, my only choice was to lace up my shoes, put on my favorite t-shirt and my finest pink tutu skirt and be on my way.

    In our part of the world, when it rains, it pours! It had been awful weather in the past week with rain and strong wind but the forecast for Sunday promised only wind. I was also hoping for some warming cheers along the way but half of my support team was still sleeping at 8.15 when I set off to do my challenge.

    The start was great, I was on fire, everything went as planned. Then I got on the trail and started fighting off the mud, the slippery rocks and pine needles and even fallen tree branches, courtesy of rain & storm and some of the butterflies on my skirt unfortunately did not survive the ordeal :D

    Once upon a time
    Back in May I ran a virtual HM and I was wearing the same outfit. Along the way I met a little girl with her granny, strolling on the trail. When I passed them she cried “look grandma, look, a fairy!!” :) I stopped, took a bow, waved graciously like a fairy and went my way, laughing & giggling that I was in fact more the plump fairy godmother than a fairy. Yesterday however I only met half of the canine population of our village with their owners attached, out for the ritual morning walk. And the usual squirrels, curious about the commotion in their woods.

    Rhythm is a dancer
    The music and the encouragement in the app, it utterly ruled!! Here was I, “Eye of the tiger” loud in my ears, like a mean machine Rocky Balboa emerging from the woods :D Please convey my thanks to the person/s who made the song selection, Thunderstruck absolutely made my day.

    After the trail, I ran through my neighborhood and then again on a different patch of woods, coming out on a segment we call “faster than the train”, alongside the train tracks. I think the name was given in an ironic way cause the train tends to be delayed sometimes but I had my heart set on a new PR on that segment and I got it :)

    Finish with an outlook
    Upon my arrival on the stadium for the last few laps of the challenge, my entire support team was there waiting to cheer for me although my dog, Ozzy, who wasn’t allowed on the track, was completely baffled about me not stopping to pet him and keeping on running in circles like a mad hamster.

    The last 90 seconds were amazing, I felt like I was there when history was made in 2018! It was one heck of a challenge, you’ve outdone yourselves! The support, the app, the encouragement, the coverage, the motivation, all in one, you should be proud of your achievements and I think runners worldwide responded in kind with the same enthusiasm :) So thank you again for this opportunity and see you next year in Berlin!!


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.

Patrick Makau

2011 - prognosis confirmed

  • Three years after Haile Gebrselassie became the first runner to run under 2:04 hrs at the BERLIN-MARATHON it was Patrick Makau from Kenya who ran 21 seconds faster to clock a new world record by running 2:03.38 hrs. He had proven his ability to run fast by winning the BERLIN-MARATHON the year before in 2:05:08 although it was pouring with rain throughout the race. Asked after that performance how fast he could run at better conditions he answered „one and a half minute faster“. In 2011 he proved it to the very second.

    Florence Kiplagat won the womens race in 2:19:44 hrs, underlining the importance of the fastest marathon distance in the world. 

Eliud Kipchoge

2018 - Kenyan writes marathon history

  • In 2018 Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya wrote history by winning the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in the world record time of 2:01:39 hrs bettering the previous mark by 1:18 minutes.

    One year later BMW BERLIN-MARATHON winner Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia missed the world record by a mere of three seconds winning in 2:01:42 hrs.

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.

Wilson Kipsang

2013 - anniversary crowned with a new world record

  • “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.

Gladys Cherono

2015-2018 - The era Gladys Cherono

  • Gladys Cherono from Kenya won the BERLIN-MARATHON three times, 2015, 2017 and 2018 clocking a course record of 2:18:11 hrs in 2018 which was the 4th fastest time worldwide at the time being. The combined winning times of the 2018 BERLIN-MARATHON made this race the fastest ever over the marathon distance.

 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.

Irina Mikitenko

2008 - first german runner under 2:20 h

  • In 2008 Irina Mikitenko clocked 2:19:19 for a German record to win the BERLIN-MARATHON making her the fourth fastest woman in marathon history. Between 2008 and 2010 she won the Abbott World Marathon Majors series three times in a row earning 500,000 $$ in each case.

Dennis Kimetto

2014 - first runner under 2:03 h

  • He was the runner-up at the 2012 BERLIN-MARATHON when everybody who watched got the impression that he was holding back to let his training partner win the race. In 2014 it was his turn to win the BERLIN-MARATHON. And Dennis Kimetto did it with style. The runner from Kenya became the first runner under the 2:03 barrier clocking a new world record of 2:02:57.

    Three women under 2:22 h was a record for the BERLIN-MARATHON.

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.