I’m not sure where to start with this. So much happened over the course of 26.2 miles that I’m not sure I remember most of it let alone all. I’ll try and start from the beginning and see how we get on …
The morning was here and I’d had the best night’s sleep in a while – 10 hours! Once up, I had some accidental sparkling water (don’t pick up 4.5 litres of sparkling water instead of still) and baguette with jam – different from my usual bagel and jam but as we were in a hotel with at 18 euro breakfast (all for one bagel!) I opted for a variation on my usual. Never try anything new on race day – sometimes it just can’t be helped.
The start area was only a mile away from my hotel so I opted to walk – we’d done a trail walk the day earlier so I knew where to go. Once I got closer, the nerves started to hit and the butterflies were rolling around my stomach. It was a little confusing here and I was sent in one direction and then in the other (where I was heading in the first place!). I didn’t have a bag with me so it was straight to the start zones for me at 9am ready for my 10.05am start. The morning was warming up so I had some hydration drink with me.
After much confusion and walking around I found the starting areas and sharply found my way to the toilet queue – the long line sticking out of the side. In my mad panic that morning I’d charged my watch but not my phone so waiting in line I had a glance of Whatsapp and saw a message saying the queues were shorter in the start pens. I left with the lady in front of me to make my way to pen H. Toilet queue found again and in line and wait.
And wait a little longer.
40 minutes in total.
So many minutes that I make the toilet at 9.57am and make a dodge through the crowds to find a place I was happy to start in. Fast-forward and once the other pens had gone their toilet blocks were completely empty.
Moving to the left, to the right and putting our hands up for the warm up got me really in the mood and before I knew it we were at the 10 second countdown and walking towards the startline.
As I arrived at the start line, it was me and 26.2 miles. I was there, it was real life, it was happening.
The first kilometre or so passed and I spotted some sights – the Victory Column, the TV tower. It was tough going due to the amount of people, it was extremely hard to maintain a rhythm and from what I remember, worse than London. It didn’t bother me, I was happy to be there, soaking up the atmosphere and smiling my way around the course.
I was feeling good with my strategy in place from early on, walk for 1, run for 14 and that’s how it went – for the most part – with me taking longer walking breaks when I felt like it but solidly running for a minimum of 10 minutes during each run section.
From then on, I remember bits and bobs – it’s likely that I will need to update this as time goes on and things come back to me (see the list of notable moments below).
The moment that everyone waits for during the Berlin Marathon is running through Bradenburg Gate and knowing the marathon is over. Oh how wrong everyone was. Bradenburg Gate was a sight, crowd-lined streets so much noise, it was everything I wanted to be. Apart from that at the other side there was a decent 200-300 meters left. Running, if you can call it that, after 41 kilometres to my hearts content I was overjoyed I’d finished the Berlin Marathon. Watch said 5 hours 7, I was happy. But no. There was more….
After the worst 2-300 meters of the marathon, I had an awful finish line photo, and crossed the line in 5 hours 11 minutes and 37 seconds.
Medal around my neck, I was sore all over. On a side note, during marathon training my arms don’t hurt, after the actual marathon I hurt everywhere – why! I picked up my goody bag, rather fetching poncho and decided I wouldn’t sit down until I’d arrived at my hotel with a glass of wine all for me.
Berlin was amazing, an experience, a world-record (for some!) course and I had the best time.
- Seeing Harry at mile 9 and stopping for a hug
- Seeing Harry at mile 23 and telling him that my legs can’t stop now but take a photo and send it to my mum for me
- Trying some gross sports drink thinking it might give me some energy. NB: it tasted like liquorice and the taste didn’t leave my mouth for at least two miles
- The delicious WARM tea
- Some of the amazing bands including the one signing an Adele song with a German accent i.e. the word zee instead of the signing made me LOL
- The fact I was starving every time I was due a gel but didn’t want to risk using too many or eating a banana mid-race
- Awful noise and crunch of the plastic cups at the water stations, not to mention how chaotic they were. You had to walk through most just to pass safely
- On the note of water stations I was pretty sure I was going to end up arse-over-tit with the slippyness of the ground around the water stations
- The fact that my sponge stayed with me until 39km, I used it and all my race photos I have my hands in the air with sponge
- The supporter who held up a sign about the world record being broken
- Attempting to do the YMCA at mile 18
- Half shouting in despair to Becca (@redfaced_runner) and Lou (@newfoundrunner) at 38kms – them totally getting in and having my name shouted. Loudly (thanks ladies!)
- The German guy who I took a photo of outside the Reichstag who then I spotted asking someone else to take his photo – I am very sorry
- Not arranging to meet but bumping into Lee from running club and his girlfriend Jodie in the finishing area
- Hobbling back to my hotel watching everything being cleared away but cheering on the runners who were still out there
- On a generic note, it surprised me how little charity runners and fancy dress there was in comparison to UK events