The Berlin Marathon is part of the marathon series, World Marathon Majors, together with four other large and tradition bound races: Boston, Chicago, London and New York marathons. In the 2011 version of the BMW Berlin Marathon, some 40,000 runners was cheered on by more than 1 million spectators.
In the early years, the course of the Berlin Marathon took runners through Grunewald – a large forest in West Berlin. Seven years later, the race was moved to West Berlin’s city centre, and finally in 1990 – almost one year after the Berlin Wall collapsed – the runners were led through both parts of the German capital.
Running through the historical Berlin icon, Brandenburg Gate, was a symbolic action that brought out tears in the eyes of many participants in 1990. The course of the Berlin Marathon is well-known for its flatness, which makes the race great for first-timers and for experienced marathoners looking to beat their personal best. The route is also great for sightseeing if you’ve never been to Berlin. The course takes runners past several of Berlin’s historic landmarks, such as the Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, Berliner Dom, and of course the Brandenburg Gate just before the finish line.
More than one world record has been set on the flat, low-altitude course of the Berlin Marathon. The 2007 and 2008 versions of the Berlin Marathon both featured new world records - by the same man. In 2007 Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie took 29 seconds off the former record and finished at 2:04:26. And then in 2008 he improved his own breathtaking accomplishment by another 27 seconds and finished at 2:03:59. In 2009, he won yet again (for the fourth year in a row), although not in record time. However, he did pass the 30K point in 1:27:49 which is a world record on road. In 2010, Gebrselassie did not run and in his absence, Kenyan Patrick Makau won the race with an impressive time of 2:05:08.
History was made on 25 September 2011 when Makau smashed through the finish line again and set a new world record of 2:03:38 shaving 21 seconds off former record-holder Gebrselassie’s time.
Registration procedures and various information regarding the full and 1/2 (half) marathon in Berlin, Germany, can be found at the official Berlin Marathon website here.