About three weeks ago I bought a ticket to Berlin so I could participate in the Berlin marathon. The berlin marathon is part of world marathon masters, making it one of the six biggest marathons in the world. This run will have 40,000 participants, with over 300 from Canada. It takes place on September 29 and there is also an inline skating marathon the day before as well. It is estimated that there are 1 million spectators for this marathon as well. Because of the increased popularity of running, demand for this marathon has increased greatly. In the last few years this marathon has gone from taking a few weeks to sell out to selling out in a few hours this year. I guess it was a good idea to make it out this year.
The first thing I did after getting settled was go to the marathon expo to pick up my racing bib. On my way over I was expecting the expo to be fairly large like it was in Tokyo, but this one was dwarfed it. The expo was held at an old airport that looks like its only used for private flights and filled up a couple of airplane hangars. Definitely there wouldn't have been an expo like this 25 years ago. Hundreds of vendors it seemed. Representation from just about every shoe company. Marathon representatives from other races advertising their runs and hoping to capture a piece of the Berlin frenzy. There was even a guy selling shake weights, though he wasn't selling too much it seemed. It was easy to get lost in this maze of people and merchandise. It probably took me 30 minutes just to get my bib because of the number of people and the size of the hangars. The pictures below may give you a sense of how many people were in front of me and the size of the hangars.
Oh, and on top of that, once I finally got my bib, there was another line to leave the bib area as we have to wear a wristband leading up to and during the marathon.
Even though the expo was exhausting in itself, it was still pretty cool to see how they operated it and to see the all the displays and exhibits. For example, at this marathon your bib is printed for you when you get to the front of the line as opposed to it sitting in a bin and having a volunteer look for it when you arrive.
I'm also very excited for this marathon. Usually with these larger races, I don't do very well as there is a large crowd density and it becomes very tiring trying to pass runners and groups. However, this summer I logged a lot of hours and kms which will help my endurance and prevent me from hitting the wall.
I've also decided to run this marathon without an iPod so I can fully appreciate my surroundings. While running without music can be boring at times, there are about 80 bands performing on Sunday, so one band every 500m to keep us entertained.
Hopefully tomorrow I can carb load in the morning and catch the inline skating marathon.