Though only a few decades old, the Berlin Marathon, one of the six races in the Abbott World Marathon Majors series, is world-famous for inspiring people toward their goals – for runners, spectators and volunteers alike. Check out some of the unique ways it has encouraged people to unlock their potential over the years.
WINNERS NEVER QUIT
In 1974, Günter Hallas won the first-ever Berlin Marathon – and he hasn’t stopped running since. Now at age 73, Hallas has only missed a handful of marathons and has inspired countless others to find fulfillment through running. Why does he keep participating after all these years? He simply enjoys it, he says, and doesn’t take it too seriously. When Hallas still worked as a postman, he “trained” daily by avoiding elevators, taking stairs two at a time, and moving swiftly during his delivery routes.
A MONUMENTAL MOMENT
The 1990 Berlin Marathon was held on Saturday, Sept. 30, just days before the official reunification of Germany. On race day, marathon runners were some of the first people allowed to cross under the Brandenburg Gate connecting both sides of the city – a symbol of new beginnings for runners, spectators and supporters around the world. Although free travel between East and West Germany was allowed starting in November 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the sight of runners under such a historic landmark inspired the world to see the potential of the newly reconnected country.
DREAMS INTO REALITY
Marathon world records often are broken at the Berlin Marathon, as are personal records for thousands of participants. Most recently, Dennis Kimetto broke the world record by completing the 2014 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2:02:57.
What is it about the course that makes it stand out? For one thing, the course is relatively flat with few corners. That makes a huge difference, especially when compared with other marathon courses. The London Marathon course has more turns, and the Boston Marathon’s elevation changes have made it ineligible for world record attempts since 2011. Experts also agree that Berlin's beautiful fall weather contributes to record-breaking races. This and more makes the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON the perfect place to turn a runner’s dream into reality.
MUSIC TO YOUR EARS
For those who are not endurance runners, the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON still offers the chance to showcase talent – particularly the musical kind. Also called the “Music Marathon,” the Berlin race highlights more than 90 bands and more than 1,000 musicians along the course route. Every 500 meters, runners and spectators can hear a different group play, encouraging participants to keep moving and bringing spectators to their feet. This 1980s tradition still holds strong today, allowing non-runners to share their passion and musical talents with the world.
The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series of six elite races hosted around the globe. While finishing any marathon is a monumental accomplishment, some runners can’t seem to get enough. As of August 2015, 428 runners had completed all six races – and more than 40 of them hail from Germany. For many, the Berlin race symbolizes the beginning of a global adventure and pushes them to achieve even more.
Find out more about the Abbott World Marathon Majors.