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September 27, 2015
Originally run only in West Berlin, when the German city was divided, the fast and flat course now weaves back and forth across the former wall, and ends with all racers passing through Brandenburg Gate. The wide streets, once used for displays of military might, are filled with runners from around the globe and lined with cheering spectators and live music. With 40,000 runners, the pre-race expo is so enormous it takes place at an old airport.
For elites, the flat, fast course is often a target for setting new world records. For the rest of the field, it can be a great race for running a PR—or simply a memorable way to run through history while touring the city’s iconic landmarks and shaded residential areas. “We are constantly innovating to stay on top of new developments,” says Race Director Mark Milde.
Related: Fast Facts About The London Marathon
Berlin Marathon Fast Facts
First Running: 1974
Average Finish in 2014: 4:07
Average Starting Temp: 50 Degrees
Route: Looped course, with short distance separating the start and finish
Entries: Lottery and Charity
Women’s Course Record: 2:19:25 by Mizuki Nojuchi of Japan in 2005
Fact: At fluid stations, the “water” may actually be hot tea (especially nice on chilly race days!), and with 80 live bands lining the course, Berlin is a good race for leaving headphones at home.