Berlin Marathon 2014: World Record in the perfect settings
Last Sunday 28th September, Berlin hosted one of its biggest sporting events of the year. The BMW Berlin Marathon celebrated the 41st edition with a spectacular atmosphere, fabulous audience, and more than 40,000 participants from all nationalities.
Furthermore, on Sunday in Berlin history was made: The Kenyan athlete Dennis Kimetto smashed the world Marathon record after completing 42 kilometres (26.2 miles) in an impressive time of 2:02:57. The 30-years-old runner said that he came well prepared and Berlin’s flat terrain only made things easier. He won a grand total of 120,000 Euros for three prizes: the record, the victory, and the feat of having reached a time under 2:04. The second position went to Mutai, also from Kenya, and the podium was rounded off by the runner Kuma, born in Ethiopia. In the female category another Ethiopian, Tirfi Tsegaye, won the gold medal with an amazing time of 2:20:18. The best-performing German was Falk Cierpinski, reaching 19th position in the Men’s race.
Berlin was blessed with ideal running conditions, with temperatures reaching 17 degrees and low wind speeds. Thousands of runners from various clubs, different ages and nationalities started to arrive to the promenade surrounding the German Reichstag. The atmosphere was full of joy, energy, hope, and perhaps some nervousness for those undertaking their first marathon. Countless hours of training culminating in a single moment as the race began at 8.45am – the start of a 42-kilometers-long adventure with the city’s support carrying them every step of the way.
The level of competition was very high, as the Berlin marathon attracts some of the best runners in the world. The participants were cheered through every kilometre by an energetic and unstoppable crowd. Stride after stride, the runners completed the distance accompanied by cheers and applause, multicolored flags, and beautiful views that showed Berlin in all its glory.
The BMW Berlin Marathon is ranked as the fourth most important marathon in the world. It is a very popular race and attracts widespread attention from the media, partly due to the many benefits that the city can offer. Being able to run it is a real privilege for many.
Placed anywhere along the route, watching the participants was an extraordinary spectacle. You could see funny groups in Hawaiian fancy dress, orchestras and live music, huge flags, runners sporting only American-flag thongs and people who had blown out their 60th birthday candles long ago… In essence, a fascinating show in motion.
The history of the Berlin Marathon dates back to 1974, and from its humble beginnings it quickly increased in popularity – eleven years later more than 10,000 runners were enrolled. The incredible part is that, despite the construction of the Wall and the fierce restrictions of this historic chapter, East Berlin agreed to collaborate and allow its citizens to participate. What the Cold War had divided, sport managed to unify – even if it was only for a day.
Visiting the city in order to take on this challenge is a highly recommended adventure for runners, thanks to the flat surface of Berlin and the beauty of its streets. As a spectator it’s also enjoyable: being part of the continuing ovations, contemplating the mix of sports in the same race, and the great festive atmosphere created by the participants. Running a marathon is one of the toughest races a person can take on, especially at the level now reached in the 41st edition, many degrees on the thermometer and such high participation; however, it is always a rewarding endeavour according to the interviewed runners. Many of them chose Berliner streets for competing for first time, and they will surely always remember the feelings experienced in this competition. To all of them, congratulations.
Photos and text by Itziar Matamoros