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Berlin Marathon 2014

Yeah! A new record: 2:02:57! That was the world-record time for the winner.
My own record was that I took more than five hours this time: 5:15:59.

Would've like to have completed at under five hours, but this is a good indication that my full marathon runs are over. Next year, I hope to participate with the skaters. Less stress for the knee joints and more entertaining way to spend viewing Berlin on the last weekend in September.

I started in last big H-block where the slow runners and the first-timers are put. My number was 5510. Didn't get to cross the starting line till almost 25 minutes after the start for the fast runners.

Kept on the lookout for moral supporters. Did see some supporters for my morale (note difference in spelling) were (in order of appearance): Karen Axelrad (she took to picture on the right, had just doused myself a bit), Giesela Kent, some JFK school alumni, and my dear Edie at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächniskirche. If there were others, I didn't see then, or maybe they couldn't get my attention. Other kids and adults would read my first name on my number though and call out personal encouragements.

Coming down the Kudam towards Edie (Click all pictures to enlarge.)

Going up the Tauenzien away from Edie

Got a fair amount of entertainment from reading other runner's T-shirts:

Met and saw some interesting runners on the stretch:

Spectators cheering us on included groups of kids who had their hands stretched out to slap as you ran by. Many bands along the way to, playing invigoring music. Did some knee-up strutting past some quick beating drum bands. The change of pace was amusing for the musicians and a good yet brief change of pace for the legs.

Sang or called out also to various groups, which you'd meet a couple times along the route as they leap-frogged ahead. They liked my lyrics:

My left knee started aching at about 2/3 of the route; long way still to go. I had a serious word–in silent–with the knee, "I MUST FINISH THIS LAST MARATHON!" The mantra seemed to work, as the 55-year-old knee didn't give me much trouble anymore after that. Fortunately, I didn't suffer any injury; no blisters, bruises, or cramps. I took it moderately enough (8 km/h after all on average), so nothing more than a healthy muscle ache.

Refreshments were in good supply at least every 5 kilometers. An important one was at the foot of a slight hill going up Lenzallee. PowerBar was passing out energy blends and gels. People were going up the hill rather slowly there anyway, but that may also have been due to the quite sticky pavement. In any case, for ecological reasons, I always dropped my water cups into garbage cans or handed them to moral supporters to dispose of properly.

After rounding Gendarmenmarkt, I sped up for the final stretch down Unter den Linden still passing many along the way, through the Brandenburg Gate "Yippee, Gironimo!", and then the last 200 meters to cross the finish line "We beat the Persians!" (famous last words).
Video on Youtube

I certainly was elated then when the medal was hung onto my neck. After picking up my clothing bag (didn't bother to change then, sorry), my alcohol-free Bavarian beer, and bag of snacks, I found my way out to the front of the Reichstag were I met up with Edie at the letter "B" in the family meeting area ("C" can be seen behind us.) Those yellow foils all over the place were passed out to runners so they could wrap themselves in to keep from getting cold or to lie down on. Didn't need one myself.

We took the S-Bahn home from Hauptbahnhof then. A runner father in the train told his teenage daughter to give up her seat for me, thanks.

So, to close the day, Edie and I went to a local restaurant to celebrate.

Some conclusions on the results and the ratio of finishers. I came in at 20846 out of 22210 men, i.e. in the last 10%. Add 6790 women, that is exactly 29000 finishers. There were 40 thousand officially registered starters yet a quarter didn't even start! About a thousand must have quit during the race. Read in the Berliner Morgenpost on Monday, which also published the alphabetical list of all the finishers, that this poor result ratio may have had to do with the fact that participants were admitted by lottery this time. It cost 98 euro to run, yet so many defaulted. Maybe the organizers ought to return to a first-come-first-serve basis, where participants are more eager to take part if they have to try harder to register on time.

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