I went on the first day of the Berlin Vital expo to fetch my bib. It's always a good idea to directly go on the first day, since most people go on friday or saturday and the queues are managable, if there are any.
I went so early, that I didn't have to queue at all. Happy as can be, they continued to give out the proper armbands which you can wear longer then the event lasts. Unfortunately the ladies who gave out the bands made them so tight, that I had to fetch myself an orga guy and request a new one. Which was no problem, the organisers and helpers are very friendly people. As you can see on the photo below, I am still wearing my blue armband from the 42. BERLIN MARATHON.
Originally I was planning to do the half marathon together with my brother. But related to some heavy workload and other stuff, he wasn't feeling quite up to it. My other 'running mate' was ill in the week before the race, so up until saturday evening it was uncertain if she could participate.
Unlike normal, I used the days before the race to checkout other peoples tweets with the hashtags #berlinhalf and #BerlinHalfMarathon. One runner on twitter peaked my interest, because I spotted Brooks shoes in her racekit and her nickname Too Fat to Run? made me curious. So I burned her bib number into my brain, just in case I might see her.
I also prepared my racekit, even though some items are missing on the photo, I decided to share it with the world, too.
I was feeling a little bit weak on the evening before race day and therefore I decided to go well fed early in the evening to bed. Just to be awoken by call around midnight, it was my 'running mate' Julia, she decided that she feels well enough and we loosely arranged a time we eventually may meet in the start area.
I wasn't too excited for race day, since my motto is 'A half marathon is always possible.' and after all, I have a marathon 6 weeks after race day. So basically the event was just a training day for me. :)
On sunday I walked fully prepared to the start area, which is roughly 1.7km away from my apartment and after I arrived instantly started to scan the area for known people. After a while and a phone call, I met up with Julia and we positioned ourselves in my start block F. The race started for us at 10:42 a.m., which reminded me a little of the marathon where we also started around 45 minutes after the pros.
The first 5k we had a good speed of about 8.23 km/h and we made some time up, to meet our first supporter group, consisting of my mum and her partner, at the agreed point and time.
Shortly after KM9 I spotted someone I believed to be a friend of mine, but was insecure and afraid to approach her, so we moved on. Later in the finish area I saw her again and approached her, turns out I was right all along. She had quite a difficult time and was finishing long after us, so I decided to spend some time with her and bring her mood up. After all, she finished a half marathon, maybe not in the expected time she set herself, but nonetheless an accomplishment to be proud of.
Around KM 9.5 I luckily spotted Julie, Too Fat to Run?, I mentioned her earlier and we talked a little bit about our racing experiences, half marathons and marathons alike. It was really nice meeting her and I am happy we could provide her with some nice company for a little while. On the upcoming refreshment point we then seperated from her and continued without her.
If you haven't spotted the little blue hose in the photo of my racekit, I am using a camelbag and because of that; I don't have to stop for water. Which one woman noticed for herself by crying out loud "Look! That guy is carrying a backpack" and me yelling back "YEAH! IT'S FOR THE WATER." ; what a joy!
Finally at KM 10 I was also with my head in the race, before I was a little caught up with myself and the race up until this point felt tedious. At U Uhlandstr. (KM 12) was the last cheering point for my mum, which Julia celebrated with a final hug for my mum and we moved on.
The greatest thing was still up ahead, at Kochstr. (KM 18) was a group of french guys who provided a 'cheer mile', every runner who passed close by them was cheered on ecstatic and joyful. They upped the noise level of the entire street by tenfold and some runners behind us joined into the party. It was truly amazing and fantastic.
KM 18 to KM 21 was just amazing, the amount of people cheering on was here the most dense and everyone was very supportive of us.
And finally, just when we were about at KM 20.5 Julia spotted Joey Kelly, who was walking towards us from Alexanderplatz. I have to admit, I never would have spotted him and Julia tried to approach him, but he wasn't in the mood for a selfie with her and so we moved on to the finish. :)
I am still unsure if I will do the Berliner Halbmarathon ever again.
The reckless behaviour of many people, especially in the first 5k, put a bitter taste on the experience and diminishes the overall greatness of the race day.