Londoner NICK NEWMAN recalls he’s Berlin Marathon experience …
2016 has without a doubt been the best year I’ve had as a runner, not only have I ticked off my first ever marathon, the London Marathon, but a few months later I completed my second, in Berlin! This post is all about my Berlin Marathon experience.
By the time I decided to register for Berlin Marathon, entries had already been sold out and I was lucky enough to secure an entry with Disfruta Sports Tours.
Saturday had arrived and it was time for me to got to the Expo with to collect my race number, and to have a look around. Having recently been to the London Expo, I was interested to see what, if anything, was different. To be honest, there wasn’t much different other than some of the companies that were on show.
What could go wrong in my quest for a sub 4hr marathon?!
On race day, I looked out of the window and the conditions looked perfect – on going outside, they were. There was a nice chill in the air as my friend Sam and I made our way to the starting pens and placed our race bags into the holding bays. I was still nice and relaxed thinking everything was going to plan, Sam and I split up and made our way to our respective starting areas. I was a bundle of nervous energy and all I wanted to do was start, but there was still 30 mins to go
The gun goes and the elites were off, it wasn’t long before the start line was in sight, I had begun! Full of confidence I tried to set off a the pace I needed to hit the sub-four time. The first 5k went to plan, well if you looked at the time it did, but what my stats don’t tell you is the toilet stop- so in reality I was probably two minutes too quick over the first 5k. I felt that good and confident I continued at what felt like a similar pace, in fact in I was quicker. The third 5K was only 14 seconds slower than the second, I knew I had to slow down but I had to push myself to try and possibly get a quicker time than what I set out for. What an idiot I was. One highlight from the first 5k was a loud “Howzit Bru” from Faldiel from Disfruta Sports Tours who was amongst the crowd near the start of the race.
The half way point had come and I was still feeling good with a first half time of 1:54:47. Everything was still in working order as far as my body was concerned but one thing that I had noticed was that the morning clouds had disappeared and it was getting warmer, I was hoping that it wouldn’t get much warmer but unfortunately for me it did. 30k had arrived in a time of 2:52:49, surely I would get my my target time of a sub four hour marathon? I wish I was right, around 32k my right quad turned to concrete with the worst dose of cramp I had ever encountered. Luckily for me it was by one of the on-course massage areas, the guy looked at me and I knew by the look on his face that what he was about to do was going to hurt. It did, but it also managed to kick start me again. I had thought about calling it quits with how much the cramp hurt but the fact that my belongings were at the finish I knew that I had to go there anyway so I continued. This is when it became really hard.
Having just checked what the temperature was in Berlin on the day, Google shows that it reached 23 degrees, but I can tell you it felt much hotter than that. The last 10k was mental torture for me, I was so dehydrated that I was feeling nauseous and I had a banging headache like I’d been on the wobbly juice the night before. Every water station became a finish line for me and the only way I was going to finish was to break the final 10k into mini segments. I chose every water station as my next goal as I knew I would be rewarded with liquids and fruit. It didn’t get any easier, any shade I could find I ran in. I was very lucky that the route didn’t go past my hotel as I fear I would had stopped at that point and given up, BUT, I wanted that medal and wanted to finish my second marathon. The crowd were willing me on which helped immensely, if you’re reading this and preparing for your first marathon, get your name printed on your shirt!
The picture below shows my splits, not the best way to run a marathon, learn from my mistakes!
Very negative splits, not the way you want them though.
I could finally see the Brandenburg gate and beyond that the finish line, music playing and crowd cheering I mustered the energy to go for what felt like a Usain Bolt sprint in the last 100m but more than likely looked like I was going backwards. None the less, I had finished my second marathon in 4 hours 26 minutes.
Thanks for reading and happy running!
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