Berlin Marathon 2017

1992km1992km ✭✭✭
I'm looking forward to running 26.2188 miles through Berlin on Sunday 24 September 2017, in just 96 days.

I hope this forum (don't think there are others here) will be a useful home for first timers and experienced runners alike to share #Advice, experiences, #Support and #tips on #Accommodation, #Food and all those #practicalities like collecting bibs etc.

I ran my first marathon back in Paris as part of my challenge to run 1,992km (for a couple of good causes by the end of the year. I holidayed in Berlin last year and I can't wait to return to run through this extraordinary city.

Some of the really useful advice I took from the Paris forum was to 'bank energy, not time' and, very practically, avoid the slippery discarded fruit around the water stations.


  • I am also booked into doing Berlin as part of my journey to get the Six Star Marathon Majors medal. Looking forward to it. 

  • Am signed up for Berlin this year. I was looking to get GFA so I can enter London next year, but I have managed to pick up a knee injury training for an ultra marathon. I have the ultra on Saturday which I am guessing is going to screw my knee up good and proper and take some time to recover from, so will have to see how much time I get to train for Berlin.
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    How many have you done already Tricia ?

    good luck on Saturday Jason. Hope the knee holds and you can make it to Berlin too. it's amazing what you need to do to run in London. I think running an Ultra should be qualification enough:)

    have either of you done Berlin before?
  • Nope, so far have just done Brighton twice. Am really looking forward to Berlin, as I love Germany anyway, and have heard it is a great course. This is the first time I am going as part of a holiday package, as it was the only way I could get in after missing out on the ballot.

    Hopefully I will be in apposition to run it properly, but if not will just go and enjoy the event.

  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    I have been reminding myself that the average temperature for Berlin in September is 12-18C according to the BBC. 

    On average it rains less than half the month, and people keep describing it as cool and sunny. Can't find the record temp high yet
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    Interesting post on the Runnersworld website about marathons. Jo Pavey says don't run too fast. But how do you find your marathon pace?

    Oh and t-90 days / 12 weeks.
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    t-90 days / *13* weeks
  • Hi 1992km, 
    I have done London and New York. Have also got a place in Tokyo for Feb and have a GFA time so will enter Boston in Sep when that opens. Then I just need Chicago and to stay injury free!!
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    Fantastic accomplishment Tricia! Do you expect a pb from Berlin?
  • I am going to try. I got a PB in Dublin last Sep of 4hr 1 min so would be nice to be able to go sub 4hr. Have you done any marathons before?
  • Sorry I have just seen you did Paris, well done, that is one I would like to do in the future.
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    Yes, loved it. Great atmosphere and just such a beautiful city. And reasonably flat to which helps :smile:

    im told There's plenty of space and Berlin (it got a bit crowded at pinchpoints in Paris) but I hope it doesn't lose atmosphere for that
  • G-DawgG-Dawg ✭✭✭
    Hi Guys. I did Berlin back in September. It was my 10th Marathon (spread over many years!) and I scored a PB of 3.09.

    My hotel was barely a mile from the start which made for a great, easy warm up walk to the bagging area. Arrive early as security is high.

    The start line has massive TV screens and banging music, it was superb!
    Lack of toilets is the same as every race but being in the Tiergarten, there are plenty of...a-hem...natural loos about.

    The roads are very wide and you can hit your target pace pretty much as soon as you cross the line.

    As we all know, weather at the end of September can vary a lot. It was a warm day and I had to run smart.
    I decided to walk through every other water station to ensure I stayed hydrated. My mile splits show a 20 to 30 second increase in time at these points.

    They had cups rather than bottles which is why I had to walk. A good tip is to pinch the top of the cup in half to create a spout which ensures you get more fluid inside your face rather than on it!

    I had gels with me and had 4 en route to maintain electrolite levels. I was sweating a lot so that was very important. I still had loads of salt from sweat on my vest and shorts at the end.

    Wear sunscreen!

    In your race bag there will be a square sponge. I thought this strange until I saw huge buckets at water stations where you can dip the sponge and use it to cool yourself as you go. I didn't realise this and missed out on that smart move.
    Runners with caps placed the soaking sponges under those for clever cooling.

    The crowd are superb and the course is flat. However, when you did hit a small bridge or tiny incline, it feels worse than it is, especially on a warm day.

    There are no pinchpoints and you can pace yourself well. The water stations can get a bit hectic, so lookout. Use the people near the end of the stations to avoid trip hazards as most go for the first few.

    Food is available as well as tea...TEA!! Only have these things if you've trained with them.

    Red Bull have a massive party area at around 22 miles. It's crazy! The floor is sticky with the stuff, again, be careful if you've not used drinking it mid-run but the confetti cannons and banging music are a real lift at the business end of the run.

    The final streets are a bit twisty but the left turn which presents the vista of the Brandenburg Gate is fantastic!
    The finish line is a fair bit beyond the gate, so bear this in mind when chasing I time. I had to do a big sprint finish to duck under 3.10, it nearly caught me out!

    Collect your medal and then get to the Erdinger beer tents. Free alcohol-free lager for all runners and as much as you like. I downed a good 4 pints. Great for re-hydration but weird not being hammered!

    It's a fantastic event and good luck to you all. Run smart and you could PB even on a warm day as I did. 
    That's 3 of the 6 done for me after doing a very hot (26 degrees) Boston Marathon in April.

    Go for it!

  • Hi G-Dawg,
    That is all very useful info thanks. Well done on your great time there.
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    Thanks G-Dawg, I particularly like your pointers on cups not bottles of water and the sponge. Would never have guessed. 

    Also the reminder on security is useful as I got a bit thrown in Paris at the last minute when I had to hot foot it to a different place (the end) for the bag drop. Exactly what I didn't want to do. 

    And a fantastic time too.

    I have every intention of not going for six majors like you and Tricia BUT if I got into Ldn through the ballot....
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    The marathon website has some tips for running in the heat:

    1) look to run in shade, use sun cream and wear a light hat 
    2) use light airy technical clothes that wick (is that even a verb) away sweat 
    3) run early when coolest and lowest pollution or late 
    4) make sure you drink enough - use a drinking bag or ergonomic belt for carrying bottles or plan a route past drinking fountains, shops or even a place you've stored your water like your car
    5) reduce your warm up 
    6) adapt your training program to the conditions
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭

    No one will be surprised by the word cloud of the last year's thread for the Berlin Marathon.

    A few excerpts from the thread on the marathon itself - rather than specific training regimes - are:


    I`ve done Berlin a few times. Great marathon, As everyone says - flat and fast. Might be my imagination but seems to be getting increasingly crowded these days. Stick a towel in your bag - there are hot showers at the end. Marvellous. ... There will be pacemakers in every starting block. They will be carrying balloons and wearing yellow shirts with the words PACE 3:00, 3:15, 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, 4:15 or 4:30... Get to the start reasonably early. It`s big, busy and slightly confusing.

    Simon Coombes 2

     Much preferred Berlin, course great and you need to run on the famous Berlin tarmac (basically somehow like a carpet and nice to run on)..not to mention the weather. The weather seems to be cool and sunny a lot of the years - at least I think the last three years has now, so fingers crossed it will again! At least if it is warm and sunny, quite a lot of the course is shaded. Autumn marathon training fitted really well with the rest of the training year. I think it gives you added strength for any shorter races you do in the summer and then afterwards the strength you have can be used for road races/cross country in the run up to xmas. ..

    Only tips would be take an old long sleeve to chuck away at the start, and drink loads of beer after (although a trip up the big tower the day after may not be a great idea????) Enjoy!

    Dom Norrish

    cups, drinking from them isn't so bad. Throw half the water away immediately, leave a small amount at the bottom which can then be sipped without waterboarding yourself. I carry quite a big (500ml) doughnut bottle myself as I'm conditioned to 'drink to thirst', need the electrolytes that are in there and, well, have just got used to it. It generally lasts for about the first 15 miles, after which I switch to whatever I can find.

    Steady E

    there are water containers to dunk the sponge [given at the expo] in at refreshment points - according to the brochure.  

    ...Found it very crowded and hoped to pick up speed after 10/15k but it didn't thin out until 35k. 

    I like to take on water but the water stations/plastic cups were a disaster area so in hindsight I should have carried.  Remind me never to stop for watered down RedBull again.  The sponge was useful though.


    JX Mitchell

    This is the third time I've run here, and found it a lot easier this time remembering where most of the pinch points and narrow bits of the route are (that first right turn about a mile and half in after the initial straight out of Tiergarten, for example), and where the shady and sunny bits are likely to be.

    Not a complaint, but just before the Brandenburg Gate the painted race line went up a kerb and mounted a bit of pavement for some reason. Someone needs to explain that one.

    Nicole Woods 2

    My main concern in the race was the chaos/danger around and some way past each aid station. The discarded plastic cups were really hazardous as they became so slippery. I could feel my feet sliding for a long time after and it took a lot of focus to avoid the cups. It must have been terrible for runners towards the back. I wonder why they didn't use paper cups? I had been wishing beforehand that the water stops were every mile so I wouldn't have to wear my Camelbak but in the end was glad they weren't!

    Big Bertie

    Echo the comments about the plastic cups - not very practical and certainly slippery! I don't take on water so I just stay well clear of any feeding stations, but could see the problems it could cause. Usual moan about the toilets at the start - queues ridiculous (unless I was missing something!)

    Stephen Elkan 2

    I think they should of had water either side of road and small bottles would be better. The bit I struggled with the most was getting into the correct start zone. We couldn't get in ours and had to go go in the 1 ahead. It was a bit tight for time and we only had 3mins to spare. Loved the finish with the beer and being able to meet friends and relax on grass

    Alun Williams 4

    The bananas was a superb idea, really gave me a boost. Not sure about the warm tea though.

    The only negatives of the course was the crowded watering stations, could be stressful. I didn't particularly like the idea of handing the finisher t-shirts the day before, I thought that was not a good move by the organisers.

    The expos' are a bit ridiculous though, some good stuff but a lot of 'snake oil' products and overpriced clothes. I did manage to pick up a hat for 5 euros.


    Prep for the race didn't go great on the Sunday morning. Ended walking nearly 3 miles to the start pen & it was only then I realized I was in starting block H & should have been in G but it was to late to change it. Because of that my wave didn't go off until 9.45 so standing for half an hour didn't help. At the start of training for this I just wanted a sub 4 but based on good training times I was hopeful of a 3.45 but I could feel myself slowing after 15 miles & realized that would would be a tough target. 

    Felt relatively ok til mile 21 then the body started to say no & the fast walking & clock watching started. The crowds near the end & a voice at the back of my head telling me not to ruin 4 months hard training got me motivated to get a decent last mile 

    Joe Blogs-BR

    made the short trip to the expo to pick up race numbers, timing chips and some free beef jerkey?

    Saturday lunchtime was never going to be the ideal time to go – it was absolutely rammed, everyone shuffling around like sardines in a tin. The whole process itself was well run, but if you can avoid Saturday and get there beforehand – thoroughly recommended. They also let me jump forward a couple of starting pens due to the fact I’d ran a quicker time since I put my application in – I just had to show them proof of that time. 

    …en route to the start. As we got off at the Brandenburg gate about an hour and a half before the start, there were already massive crowds – it took an age to walk anywhere. Might be worth getting there a bit earlier and finding a quiet spot to relax – it was quite stressful trying to navigate through the sea of people…. The course contains sections of long, long, really long straight roads – perfect for running quickly. The weather was pleasant (if not a tad warm), and there wasn’t any wind.

     I just took advantage of the water stations en route to pour a couple of cups over my head and have a couple of sips if I was thirsty. The stations were a bit of a car crash, with everyone diving in for the same cups, and that was nearer the front where it was a bit more spread out. Katie told me it was an absolute nightmare slightly further back – some people picking up a cup and deciding to stop dead and have a mini picnic.

    The finish area was excellent, with plenty of space to relax as only runners were allowed access – the reunion area was slightly further away.

  • Thanks for all the advice
  • Tim SyngeTim Synge ✭✭✭
    G-Dawg's 28 June description is spot-on. Here is a link to my photos from 2016 to give you a visual flavour of the race.[email protected]/albums/72157673328018780
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭

    Great photos Tim. 

    Just did my longest training run so far - 28k on what has been quite a warm day. 

    Training isnt supposed to be easy and this certainly wasn't. I had planned to run a bit further - at least to 30k - but I just ran out of steam. 

    Things I learnt / relearnt :
    1) my running vest is too big
    2) training isn't showboating
    3) the economist and test match specials (as well as the heat) are good strategies for slowing down the pace of a long slow run
    4) training for a marathon is a marathon not a sprint. 
    5) housecleaning is *not* best left until after running 28k
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    Anyone have advice on what upper body strength training, beyond the core, is actually worthwhile doing to support long distance running?
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    Anyone know what the pacing is like at the Berlin Marathon?

    Also, advice on whether to delay the taper by a week following a ten day rest (illness) in August?

  • There's pacers for 3:00, 3:15, 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, 4:15 and 4:30, according to the website. As far as I remember, last year there was three pacers for each timeslot.
  • Bit of advice merch wise. If you go to the expo and want.... well.... anything! T-shirt, Hoody, Jacket etc. Expect a fight.
    They rope off the merch store, restock and when they open it up again it's like seagulls arguing over hot chips. This was on the Friday so I don't know how other days were, but if you can do it (with a tour operator?) I'd recommend pre-ordering merch......... the run was alright though! :p
  • I too have ran/walked/ran the 2014/2015 and 2016 Berlin. Why? Well you'll know once you are there. PB 4:43:37 in 2015. I'm an elderly marathoner and this will be my 12th marathon. London, Paris and Brighton. I sometimes wish I could get myself into another corral. H block have to hang around for ever before being called forward to the start line. If I could just sneak forward even into the G corral, I could meet up with my running mates a little sooner for a Pils and Bratty. I have always done my LSR's very very early in the morning to avoid the warmer temperatures.This is one of my problems with the Berlin. For me, I struggle in the mid day sun. Ive only covered about half marathon distance when the sun is at its highest, so I suffer as a consequence of starting out too late. Yes, there is a stretch on the course that is extremely hazadous caused by runners dropping their half eaten orange segments onto the road. It really is that slippery. There is a German family with their friends who hang over their balcony cheering on the runners. I have seen them every year as I pass by underneith their balcony. I always give a shout and wave to them. I always stay at a hotel at Berlin Hauptbahnhof Central. Its just a stroll over the river Spree to the marathon secure area and back again. Stay injury free.

  • Thanks jxmitchell, Richypee and Fred Mercury for all the tips. Really looking forward to getting there now. 

    There were similar fruit-based hazards in Paris, I was surprised about the relatively late start in Berlin too, and thanks for the tips pacers per time slot!
  • Just received my email with 'Start Card' and access to the expo. Checked the card and it says 'Personal Best: First Marathon' - EXCEPT I time qualified (<2:45) and sent them the bloody certificate and link. How can they mess this up? Anyone else had this?

    This is the second mistake they've made after sending me a rejection notice to my application 2 minutes after making it, and then sending another email later saying this was a mistake. Seems badly organised in comparison with other majors...
  • Hi Brian
    Sorry to hear that - must be annoying.

    Mine was Ok. I sent my certificate to Dagmar Langhoff (+49 30 30 12 88 10; generic email) and he sorted it pretty quickly. 

  • Hi Brian, yes, myself, Chris Field and a few other runners who are running for Prostrate Cancer UK have had similar problems. They have my PB as 4:30 which I believe is just a standard time for anyone who they do not have a time for. Chris Field they had down as 4:00 though and there is a girl who SCC events have given her the wrong birth date on her Start Card. The day, month and year wrong (saying that she was born in 1978 rather than 1985). I think that there has been a right balls up!

    My current PB is 3:44 by the way and I was hoping to give going Sub 3:40 a bash in Berlin, but know that would be pretty difficult if starting in the last pen of 4:15+ runners, so will save myself for Budapest (3 weeks later) and NYC if I can't be moved to a pen that is more suitable for my pace. Starting at the very front of the 4:00 pen a PB would still be possible, but having to work my way through that traffic and then half of the 3:30 to 3:50 pen runners too, it would look unlikely.

    The best time for Chris so far is 3:33 although that was achieved at Manchester this year, so they probably have no record of that. My 3:44 they will not have a record of either, but I ran Paris two years ago nearly in 4:01 and have gone around that Mark or just under a couple of times since before I applied for my place to run in Berlin. There is no way that I would have put down an estimated finish of 4:30

    Your best bet is to click on the CONTACT button on the email that your Start Card came in and send them evidence of your PB and ask them to confirm what pen you will be starting the race in.

    1992km Are you meeting the BCRC crew on Friday night in Berlin?  If so then look forwards to meeting you there!
  • 1992km1992km ✭✭✭
    edited September 2017
    Hi Smudgerncfc
    How many marathons of your 10 have you done already? 

    I think I have plans already for the Friday but didn't know about BCRC meet up and what is BCRC?

    Best wishes
Sign In or Register to comment.