Overall Rating
Overall Rating (23 Reviews)
4.1
(23 Ratings)(23 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.6
SCENERY
3.9
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
3
The fact that the past six men’s marathon world records (most recently in 2014) were all set in Berlin speaks to the course’s fast and flat profile. As the first of three World Marathon Majors series races staged in the fall, Berlin typically offers perfect running weather on a course … MORE
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Recent reviews

    cassidymegan3 FIRST-TIMER '18

    It simply was not a good day for me. If I can pass on any information to my fellow US runners it would be this: there is no Gatorade, Powerade … MORE

    It simply was not a good day for me.
    If I can pass on any information to my fellow US runners it would be this: there is no Gatorade, Powerade (which they have here and in France), Lucozade Sport drink (they have that in Ireland), Cytomax (which is not my favorite), on the course. There is beet juice and hot tea. There is plenty of water at the station, but the volume of people running the race make it impossible to keep the roads clear and since the cups were plastic, they did not crush well. A guy brushed against me just enough to knock me off my balance and I slipped at the 17K mark: I lost my mojo after that.
    I always carry salt tablets, but I went to grab an energy gel from my belt and I dropped my salt pills around the half-way point.
    It was warm that morning and only got hotter as we were running on blacktop. I trained so hard in Central FL all summer with BQ dreams in my sight, but I was cramping up so bad and I could feel the salt that I was losing on my face.
    Another thing that I would point out: The first arch after your watch hits mile 26 is not the finish line…and it’s not the Brandenburg Gate… and it’s not the red one after that. I think I went through 5 inflatable arches before I finally crossed the finish line and I was at a full-out sprint for ½mile because I thought that I was almost there….but you know what? I freakin’ ran the Berlin Marathon! That is awesome.
    •PROS•
    º The course was gorgeous! Architecture, history, tree-lined streets. Beautiful
    º The race was HUGE! I love big races and I know that this was an Abbott World Marathon Major, but it was still just so awesome! (and, no – I haven’t run NYC yet.)
    º The expo was huge. Lots of vendors – big and small.
    º There were plenty of portable toilets and portable urinals which I thought was awesome.
    º Train transportation was free to runners as long as they were wearing their bibs.
    º Everything about the event was extremely well-organized as expected.
    º Communication with the team was great. I had several questions about the event since I was running through a charity partner and got better response from the actual marathon than the charity.
    º The post-race area and nutrition was great. A nice, open park. Free beer (if you chose), free massages (if you chose and were willing to wait). I think that we got fruit, water, maybe some snack bar.
    º The race directors have no control over the weather so I can;t blame them for the heat, I can give the Fire Departments “props” for hosing us down (they took the hoses up on the ladder and let it rain down on us – that was so nice.)
    •CONS• (These may all be non-elite,”American” things to gripe about but:)
    º If you wanted a shirt, you had to buy it. I think that it cost €30 or €35 at the expo
    º The medal was not substantial. It felt lightweight and of poor quality. (But – again – it’s from the Berlin Marathon, so who cares?)
    º No electrolytes on course except for some super-sticky Gu-type something that they gave to us at the half-way point.
    º (Be warned this will gross you out, but I survive to tell the tale) They gave us reusable, collapsible, silicone cups at the expo to use along the course for water as they try to move toward being a no-cup race. I used this thing and it wasn’t until I saw the first series of spigots with free-flowing water before I realized that the troughs in which I had been dunking my cup was actually for people to dip their sponges in. :p Oh well – it may have been the only salt that I ingested along the course after I dropped my pills into the sea of people around me.

    All-in-all, me and my giant race bib had an interesting race day experience. I fell well short of my goal for the day but at the end of the day: I was in Berlin. I was in another country. I had just run one of the World Marathon Majors. I had participated in a race where the guy who won broke the world record – and his face was on our medal, too. If I went with the expectation of just finishing the marathon, I probably would have taken the time to really enjoy the scenery, the architecture, and allow myself to submerge myself into the experience. Would I go back? Yeah- probably – but I have other races to make off my list first.
    Happy Running!

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    M_Sohaskey Feb 22, 2019 at 6:27pm

    I laughed, I cried (or maybe winced a couple of times), it was better than "Cats"... now that's a memorable run, Megan! Mmm, yummy sponge water... you can't make this… MORE

    I laughed, I cried (or maybe winced a couple of times), it was better than "Cats"... now that's a memorable run, Megan! Mmm, yummy sponge water... you can't make this stuff up. Sounds like Berlin has added a few post-mile 26 arches since I ran in 2014; I only remember Brandenburg and the finish, but then again I was wobbling badly and just trying to hang on at that point, so may have missed a few things. And glad they had alcoholic beer this year — I was shocked to finish Germany's largest marathon, only to discover they were serving near beer. And yes, the plastic cups bouncing underfoot were a dangerous distraction. I'm sorry you weren't able to take home a BQ, but I'm glad you were able to maintain your sense of humor and enjoy the race, since Berlin really is an amazing city. And even though it's a bit smaller than NYC, it felt much more crowded to me since the streets are so narrow — cool that you still have NYC to look forward to. Congrats on notching (your first?) World Marathon Major, and thanks for another awesomely entertaining review, beet juice and all! LESS

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    cassidymegan3 Feb 25, 2019 at 10:16am

    Ja! Danke! This was my first World Major. Sponge water's not so bad. ☺

    Ja! Danke! This was my first World Major. Sponge water's not so bad. ☺

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    jfm0912 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Not my best race and mentally wasn't there. Regardless, it felt very crowded. Some of my issues: plastic cups that crunch under your feet and could potentially cut you if … MORE

    Not my best race and mentally wasn’t there. Regardless, it felt very crowded. Some of my issues: plastic cups that crunch under your feet and could potentially cut you if broken, pacers that weave and take a piss in the middle of the race, and a long walk to water after the finish.

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    alpacquing FIRST-TIMER '18

    This is my 5th star of the six world marathon majors. I didn't train as much as I did Boston and Big Sur. But I'm glad they still let runners … MORE

    This is my 5th star of the six world marathon majors. I didn’t train as much as I did Boston and Big Sur. But I’m glad they still let runners get an official time over 6:15. It’s a flat course. But I had a hard time with the time zone difference. Didn’t get much sleep even I was there 6 days before the race. I will definitely do this race again.

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    markknapp73 FIRST-TIMER '18

    The organization was the best I've ever seen in any race, bar none. It's a really fast course with excellent support and the crowd is great. You really get a … MORE

    The organization was the best I’ve ever seen in any race, bar none. It’s a really fast course with excellent support and the crowd is great. You really get a feel for the city (unlike Boston) and the temperature is almost always perfect. I was coming off a bad injury and hadn’t even run for an entire month but was so happy running this I performed much better than expected. If you want a PR then THIS truly is the race to run!

    DIFFICULTY
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    lchristensen44 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I ran Berlin as a lifetime goal to try to run all six majors. The time of year is great although the later start for near back of the pack … MORE

    I ran Berlin as a lifetime goal to try to run all six majors. The time of year is great although the later start for near back of the pack corrals leads to hotter temperatures in the final miles. The course is very flat. The water stops are well manned. If you are coming from the US be forewarned that the sports drinks are some sort of beet juice and warm tea. The race is working on replacing the very large amount of clear plastic cups it uses at the water stations. There were so many cups that the sound of their being crushed by runners was noticeably loud. The course has a lot of entertainment and a lot of spectators (although it seemed less than NYC). Running through the iconic Brandenburg Gate is quite exciting. Their race photos are great. I bought mine.

    The expo is nice but it’s unique venue makes navigating it a little awkward at times. I was hoping to buy a pint glass at the expo but there was less race logo’d merchandise than I expected. Get to the expo early if possible because I heard of long lines for those that went late Friday or Saturday.

    Speaking of Saturday, we took part in the free Breakfast Friendship run which had thousands from around the world run to the 1936 Olympic stadium. That was a fun experience that other races don’t offer.

    As a first time visitor we found the city fairly easy to navigate via public transit and accommodating. If I could afford it and win the race lottery again, I’d consider training to run Berlin a second time.

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    JoJoRunner REPEAT RUNNER '18

    For a couple of reasons.... Berlin is close to home and it is always nice going there and catching up with family and friends in Germany’s vibrant Capital. The fast … MORE

    For a couple of reasons…. Berlin is close to home and it is always nice going there and catching up with family and friends in Germany’s vibrant Capital. The fast flat course (though it has a couple of very tight sections especially for runner who are not in the first corals and „crash“ into slower runners from earlier waves) is definitely good for a PB as Kipchoge proofed in 2018 when he crushed the old world record by almost 1.5 minutes.
    If you want official adidas race swag it is highly recommended to preorder the stuff cause the expo seems to run out of popular sizes every year.
    Start and finish area is very big and visitors can not enter the Center part. So family memebers have to wait/ reassemble outside.
    Running towards the column of victory, along the Ku‘damm and Church of remembrance, Potsdam Square, Gendarmenmarkt and finishing after running trough the Gate of Brandenburg….
    Biased as I maybe am when it comes to Berlin marathon: it is one of the must-do races for every marathoner once in a lifetime!

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 02, 2018 at 1:50am

    Kipchoge may have stolen the show, but a huge congrats to you on your first sub-3 and on your Boston 2019 acceptance, my friend! Incredible accomplishments, both of them. 👏

    Kipchoge may have stolen the show, but a huge congrats to you on your first sub-3 and on your Boston 2019 acceptance, my friend! Incredible accomplishments, both of them. 👏

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    lassieandmax FIRST-TIMER '18

    I really, really liked this event and the city of Berlin much more than I expected I would. I thought the race was very well organized with plenty of people … MORE

    I really, really liked this event and the city of Berlin much more than I expected I would. I thought the race was very well organized with plenty of people around to help. I was very surprised by how inexpensive Berlin is compared to Stuttgart, Munich or Frankfurt. The city is very walkable, and has so much to see. Public transportation is easy to and Uber was cheap, even for an event weekend. Get there several days early and explore the city. We stayed close to the Brandenburg Gate, and got to familiarize ourselves with the race area in advance.

    Expo: The Expo is enormous. This is my first World Major and I loved the massiveness, international vendors and the food vendors there, but others who’ve been to Chicago or NYC complained it was disorganized. Lines were long, with people waiting about at least an hour for bibs and pre-ordered race shirts. I got lucky with the lines and walked right up to the counters.

    Course: Keep in mind it’s a big city race. Finisher village is enormous, you need your map to navigate it. I never found the course to be crowded or streets too narrow like others did. But my friend, who is tiny, said she was constantly under someone’s armpit or knocked around like a ping pong ball the whole way. I also never noticed any hills along the course. Perhaps one incline that lasted maybe 20 feet. Lots of changing scenery and lots of fan support. It’s great to have a name that translates well to many languages-I got called out a lot on the course. My biggest gripe is that I felt the water tables were too far apart-every 3 miles. I would prefer standardization in the majors with water 2 miles for every race. And those plastic cups were really awful. The sound as runners kicked through the tidal wave of cups will haunt me for weeks to come. And I guess with a huge international field you have to tolerate things that just would not be allowable on an American course-like shoving. A few folks met did remark how aggressive the runners were on the course. The pre-race pump up was really fun with high energy music, and HUGE TV’s for each corral to watch the previous corral start.

    Swag: It was okay. Adidas brand. Cool designs, but you have to buy your finisher shirt and the expo sold out of common sizes on day 2, so if you want to shop, get there on day 1. Post race goodie bag was severely lacking, and post race beer was non-alcoholic (?!?!). You did get a free poster at the Expo, that has a place for your bib. Speaking of bibs, they are huge (like an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper), you could wrap around yourself. And if you save your bib for a souvenir, expect to be disappointed because its just plain with a number and your name.

    The Bling: The medal features the portrait of someone significant in marathon running. This year has Kipchoge’s portrait on the back (cool coincidence with him setting a new record this year), which adds to the specialness for me. The best part is that I got to run the same race where Kipchoge broke the men’s world record. I was around the halfway point when I found out. The city erupted in celebration, which was fun to see.

    The best part: Running through Brandenburg Gate at the finish. So cool.
    Most annoying: Chip rental. Seriously? What decade are we in? Berlin needs the chips on bibs like everyone else. You get fined if you forget to return it.

    With all that aside, do the race, its worth it.

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    cassidymegan3 Feb 25, 2019 at 11:19am

    Ha! I forgot about the chip rental! But I did remember the giant bib.

    Ha! I forgot about the chip rental! But I did remember the giant bib.

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 24, 2018 at 4:43pm

    Congrats on your first World Marathon Major, Amy! These races are definitely in a class by themselves with their size and scope. I ran Berlin in 2014 when Dennis Kimetto… MORE

    Congrats on your first World Marathon Major, Amy! These races are definitely in a class by themselves with their size and scope. I ran Berlin in 2014 when Dennis Kimetto set the world record Kipchoge just smashed, so it was great fun to watch him do that this year, even though a part of me was sad to have to relinquish "my" world record after four years. It's interesting to hear how the race has changed, it sounds like the course may have gotten even busier since I ran it, WOW. Like you I enjoyed the city of Berlin a lot, though its narrow streets left a bit to be desired on race day. And stepping on and around those plastic cups was the worst. But running through the Brandenburg Gate was just amazing, best finish in racing. Congrats to you and your friend — hopefully this is one Major down, five to go for you! And thanks for another awesome review. LESS

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    dunguyen90 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Good: This is the fastest marathon course. Running the same course as the elite runners especially on the day the world record was broken. Great spacing of water stations. Great … MORE

    Good:
    This is the fastest marathon course.
    Running the same course as the elite runners especially on the day the world record was broken.
    Great spacing of water stations.
    Great crowd covering the entire course.

    Meh:
    Not all toilets have toilet paper…
    Maybe all the starting heats/waves shouldn’t start that long after each other.

    Bad:
    My own performance 🙁

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 23, 2018 at 10:05pm

    Sorry to hear your performance didn't live up to expectations, Du. It's tough to run a fast time with such large crowds all around you, so hopefully your disappointment won't… MORE

    Sorry to hear your performance didn't live up to expectations, Du. It's tough to run a fast time with such large crowds all around you, so hopefully your disappointment won't linger and you were able to enjoy the overall experience. Like you, when I ran Berlin in 2014 I discovered that all the porta-potties at the start line quickly ran out of toilet paper, so it's disappointing to hear that four years later they still haven't figured out that issue. In any case, CONGRATS on completing a World Marathon Major, and thanks for your thoughtful review. Run strong in Glasgow and Chicago, and all of us here at RaceRaves will be rooting for you! LESS

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    donknox FIRST-TIMER '17

    This is a fantastic race. For an event to handle 35k+ participants running the same distance over the same course and most speaking different languages, it is simply amazing. The … MORE

    This is a fantastic race. For an event to handle 35k+ participants running the same distance over the same course and most speaking different languages, it is simply amazing. The scenery is unsurpassed. It really is a flat course but it is hard to run a PB or fast if you are not in one of the first two or three corrals. There are just that many people but it was the most fun I have ever had running 26.2 miles (and I have run Disney). Bands, people, music, drums, more people, and just a beautiful city. I especially liked getting all of my finisher’s gear ahead of time saving a ton of time after the run was over. My wife and I started out in different corrals and yet we were able to find each other quickly because of the way the finish line was set up. This is a must do and the lottery system makes it possible for average joe runners like me to run one of the Big 6.

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    donknox Mar 01, 2018 at 11:29am

    Just a note on corrals versus waves -- I was in Corral G and my wife was in Corral H. If there were three starting waves as others state I… MORE

    Just a note on corrals versus waves -- I was in Corral G and my wife was in Corral H. If there were three starting waves as others state I guess I was in the second wave - still way too many people in front of me to really run. I ran Houston a few months later at 3:51:18. LESS

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    pkroon FIRST-TIMER '17

    I came to Berlin in 2017 excited to know that several of the world's fastest marathoners would be gunning to break the world record, which had been set on this … MORE

    I came to Berlin in 2017 excited to know that several of the world’s fastest marathoners would be gunning to break the world record, which had been set on this course in 2014. I was hoping for a personal best on this flat course, but it wasn’t to be. It was my first time doing an international race while dealing with jetlag, the day was rainy and the roads were slick, but I think the weather was more a nuisance for the spectators than for the runners. Regardless, it was an amazing experience to participate in the Berlin Marathon. I highly recommend spending a few extra days–maybe on the front end to help with the jetlag factor–to tour the city. There are plenty of hotels around with easy access to the trains.

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    Maniac5377 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Berlin is definitely the fastest and flattest course in the world. There's only 2 baby bridges to go over in the first half of the race, and rest is pretty … MORE

    Berlin is definitely the fastest and flattest course in the world. There’s only 2 baby bridges to go over in the first half of the race, and rest is pretty flat. It’s a world class event, with a massive expo and organization is near perfect. The race is crowded and some runners will push others out of the way at the water station to grab liquids and some runners will simply bump you as they try to pass as opposed to a friendly heads up. The course is very scenic and you see many of the key sight seeing destinations in Berlin with the start and finish near the Victory Column and Brandenburg Gate.

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    JoJoRunner FIRST-TIMER '17

    I did run Berlin as a challenge of two (world major) marathons within two weeks. So two big city races with heaps and heaps of thousands of runners. Berlin marathon … MORE

    I did run Berlin as a challenge of two (world major) marathons within two weeks.
    So two big city races with heaps and heaps of thousands of runners. Berlin marathon starts and finish in the historical axe between Brandenburger Gate and Siegessäule (Column of Victory). Runners run in 3 waves. The exhibition was huge and spread through numerous rooms in the Congress area near Gleisdreieck. The exhibition and race felt alike: always a bit crowded. Berlin doesn’t have wide avenues as Chicago or New York and so running in your own pace can be challenging. Organisation went smooth and you had the option of bag drop or getting a cape after the race that you had to determine upon registration.
    2017 was very moist and coolish- was running with two friends and we pushed us to a sub 3:10h photo finish. Will definitely try to do it again next year.
    On the downside: I never saw rubbish bins anywhere past the water stops and the streets were filled with trash quickly. And in the finish line area it was somewhat complicated to find what you were looking for but in retrospective to the area given and the size of the race it was adequate (never understand runners doing a full marathon and complaining about having to walk 0.3 miles after the finish line).

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    mnjogger FIRST-TIMER '17

    Berlin is a great city to visit! For that reason alone this is a great destination marathon. I've run the Chicago marathon before and use that as my baseline to … MORE

    Berlin is a great city to visit! For that reason alone this is a great destination marathon. I’ve run the Chicago marathon before and use that as my baseline to compare against since the number of runners is similar. Overall I thought the Berlin organizers could learn a lot from how things flow at the Chicago marathon. That said I don’t know the constraints the Berlin organizers are under.

    I went to the Expo Friday early afternoon and it was very crowded. At the entrance to the Expo they even separated runners from non-runners at bib pick up to help alleviate the congestion. What was unique at bib pick up was that they print your bib on-the-spot. I haven’t seen that before, but it meant you could enter any (marathon) line to get your bib. To get your (finisher) shirt you needed to travel to a different part of the Expo through crowds of people. One would think this could be optimized. I felt guilty getting a finisher shirt days before running the race: It should be earned.

    The Saturday shake out run to Olympic Stadium was nice and had many nationalities represented. Entering Olympic Stadium, seeing where the Olympic torch was and seeing the Olympic rings was inspirational. Partaking in the light breakfast they offered afterward wasn’t very orderly as people seemed to rush the food stands. “Crowds” was going to be the theme of this weekend.

    The race was Sunday, the same day as national elections. I was a little out of sorts because the map of the starting area didn’t show the bag drop off area. Textually they described it was near the start of each corral but I would have liked the visual as well printed on the map. I don’t want to leave things to Fate on race day morning and like to have things planned out. People did bring “drop” clothes to wear in the corrals. I mention that because I saw someone’s Facebook post weeks earlier stating drop clothes weren’t allowed (not true).

    There were 3 waves for approx 40,000 runners. I started among Wave 2 near the 4:30 pacers. It seemed there was always a wall of people in front of me throughout the entire race. For that reason I didn’t feel I could “race” this … it would have involved weaving in and out of people probably the entire race. I finished 4:08 which was pretty reasonable for me. Another person in my group ran with Wave 1 and finished 3:23. He commented he wasn’t as blocked in as I described and he could race it. I guess it all depends where you start. On that note, the corral you start in is based on your marathon best from the past 3 years. Corral placement is not based on what you anticipate running which is how some other marathons do it. That said there were a complement of pacers in each of the three waves, e,g, 3:45,4:00, etc hour pacers in each of the waves.

    Along the course I thought there was good crowd support and cheering. The volunteers were great. Water stops seemed to creep up on me. Better visual cues that a water stop is coming would be appreciated. Water stops later in the race had tea as well, sometimes comfortably warm which was welcome on this day. The plastic cups used at the water stops were hard to work with while running: I prefer paper cups that you can fold and drink on the run.

    I was perhaps too focused on my running to notice the landmarks we passed. The roads would widen and narrow at times and I wanted to anticipate how I’d merge into the crowd of runners. Road conditions were pretty good overall but you did want to watch you step. Running through the Brandenburg Gate to the finish was pretty cool.

    There were several who traveled with me to run this race. We compared the distances on our running watches at the end. The mileage varied from 26.4 miles to 26.9 miles.

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 20, 2017 at 8:49pm

    Congrats on a well-run race in an amazing place, David! Sounds like you and I had similar experiences, and it's funny you mention your friend running a 3:23... I ran… MORE

    Congrats on a well-run race in an amazing place, David! Sounds like you and I had similar experiences, and it's funny you mention your friend running a 3:23... I ran a 3:24 back in 2014, and I still felt like the course was as congested as you describe it the entire way. Looking at the video footage of myself at the 25K mark, it still looks like we're within 100 yards of the start line, it's so crowded. I started at the front of corral 2, and those first few hundred yards were the least crowded of the day. I'd also agree that the production (and race) at Chicago are superior, though their streets are wider than Berlin's as well. But WOW, one thing neither Chicago nor Boston nor any of the other Majors have is the chance to run through the Brandenburg Gate at the end – THAT was the highlight for me. Congrats again, and thanks for another always helpful review! LESS

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    kristin FIRST-TIMER '17

    No water and LONG bathroom lines at the start!!! Water stops were not well marked / organized. Was there an energy drink (other than Red Bull)? Finish line was not … MORE

    No water and LONG bathroom lines at the start!!! Water stops were not well marked / organized. Was there an energy drink (other than Red Bull)? Finish line was not well organized at all. Difficult to fun ponchos, not clear where to get medal, water, food. Had to remove your own chip from your shoe before leaving the grounds. No clear direction on where / how to get out. Disappointed by the complete lack of organization.

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    JoJoRunner Nov 30, 2017 at 2:46pm

    A bit surprised to read that review. Why is the race so hard for you (5stars)- it is a flat race and road conditions are good- having said that, I… MORE

    A bit surprised to read that review. Why is the race so hard for you (5stars)- it is a flat race and road conditions are good- having said that, I agree on some congestion issues but all in all the production/ organisation was smooth. I had volunteers helping / guiding me and there were plenty of signs in the finish area. I had more than one race where you had to return the chips if you don’t own it and for environmental reasons I prefer multiple use of chips. I hope you did enjoy the overall experience nonetheless and that you find „your“ race. Happy running! LESS

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    YanisNanashi Nov 30, 2017 at 2:42pm

    Hi Kristin! I have just read your review and I am so surprised how different experiences can be. I ran Berlin Marathon for the first time and I can´t believe… MORE

    Hi Kristin! I have just read your review and I am so surprised how different experiences can be. I ran Berlin Marathon for the first time and I can´t believe that it´s possible to review an event like Berlin Marathon with just 2 shoes. I had such a fantastic race and I had absolutely no difficulties in finding my poncho, I got energy drinks along the course, I got my medal immediately after the finish line, I got water etc. Ok, as I have my own chip I did not have to remove the chip, but I had to do so at several other races which has never been a problem for me. I have run different marathons and the only one that was definitely better than Berlin was Chicago. Hope your next marathon will be a better one! :-D LESS

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    merz80 FIRST-TIMER '17

    No finisher shirt Too crowded Weather was not ideal Aid stations had no trash cans! Didn't cared much for the plastic cups for water (carton would've been better) Multipower drink … MORE

    No finisher shirt
    Too crowded
    Weather was not ideal
    Aid stations had no trash cans! Didn’t cared much for the plastic cups for water (carton would’ve been better)
    Multipower drink was too diluted

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    1

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    DrewNYC FIRST-TIMER '17

    The Berlin Marathon is known for being flat - and it is. This was my 4th of the 6 World Majors. I went through Marathon Tours for this trip and … MORE

    The Berlin Marathon is known for being flat – and it is. This was my 4th of the 6 World Majors. I went through Marathon Tours for this trip and I was very happy with that/them.

    The weekend starts with a 6k Breakfast Run on Saturday that was quite fun. It was great to see all the runners wearing their “country flair” and it was a blast to end in the Olympic Stadium. This is a non-timed event and once you get to the stadium everyone is walking. I highly recommend taking part in this fun, low-stress event.

    The main event is on Sunday. For those 4:15+, the start time is 10am. I feel like they could have used one additional wave (4:15 and over is quite a mix of paces). While waiting for the start, there were several runners smoking, which was a new experience for me!

    The course was flat, but crowded. I’m a back of the pack runner and it wasn’t too bad by me, but I can’t imagine being a 4:30-ish runner. They must have been squished. The course wasn’t as scenic as I had hoped. Nor did it have as many spectators as I was expecting.

    The expo was a zoo! We went on Friday and wished we had gone the day before. I pre-ordered the jacket and shirt (which is NOT included in the race fee), which I was glad that I did.

    I definitely enjoyed my time in Berlin. I don’t think this will be at the top of my list of my marathons (even my World Major races), but I would still recommend.

    DIFFICULTY
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    3
    SCENERY
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    M_Sohaskey Oct 04, 2017 at 1:42am

    Four down, two to go! I'm eyeing Tokyo in 2019, so depending on your timetable we may meet again in Japan. Sounds like we had very similar experiences in Berlin,… MORE

    Four down, two to go! I'm eyeing Tokyo in 2019, so depending on your timetable we may meet again in Japan. Sounds like we had very similar experiences in Berlin, and I can confirm the 3:15-3:30 wave was like running in a school of sardines – the official video taken at 35K looked like someone had yelled "Fire!" in a crowded theater. And this was also the first (and last) time I've seen another runner put out their cigarette when it came time to line up in their corral. Congrats on another fantastic "Run the world" experience Drew, and thanks for the excellent review! LESS

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    noelearly FIRST-TIMER '17

    Yes it's a pb course but only if you are in the corrals at the front. The water comes in small plastic cups not like Dublin who really have an … MORE

    Yes it’s a pb course but only if you are in the corrals at the front. The water comes in small plastic cups not like Dublin who really have an excellent system. Expo was really crowded and poor, Chicago is a better event.

    DIFFICULTY
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    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    YanisNanashi FIRST-TIMER '17

    Berlin Marathon is just awesome. Fantastic course through downtown Berlin passing by most of the touristic highlights. Runners also get a good impression of the variety of the city as … MORE

    Berlin Marathon is just awesome. Fantastic course through downtown Berlin passing by most of the touristic highlights. Runners also get a good impression of the variety of the city as the course takes them through different districts like Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Charlottenburg. The expo is huge and offers a lot. Race packet was very easy and efficient. Start is close to Brandenburg Gate and even though there are around 40.000 runners I had the feeling that everything was quite relaxed as it was very well organized. The atmosphere was fantastic and even though weather was quite bad (light drizzle) there were so many spectators cheering for the runners all along the course. The best moment was when runners turn to the left at km 41,5 and see the Brandenburg Gate again. Everyone was crying and got so emotional while running the last some hundred meters, through the Brandenburg Gate to the finish! Unforgettable!!! Super nice finish area in front of the Reichstag building. I can really really recommend Berlin Marathon for all marathon runners!

    P.S.: no finisher shirts for free, but entry fees are extremely cheap compared to all other major marathons that you can buy 2 or 3 finisher shirts on the expo and still don´t spend more money as for example for Chicago or New York.

    DIFFICULTY
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    5
    SCENERY
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    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 27, 2017 at 8:02pm

    Congrats Jens! Rain and humidity aside, it sounds like a fabulous day. And YES, running through the Brandenburg Gate was an uplifting moment I wish I could have bottled, to… MORE

    Congrats Jens! Rain and humidity aside, it sounds like a fabulous day. And YES, running through the Brandenburg Gate was an uplifting moment I wish I could have bottled, to open whenever I'm feeling stressed out or tired. Sounds too like they've moved the expo since 2014 (when I ran), which is great news – having that in an enormous airport hangar with minimal air flow just wasn't working. I know you ran the Frankfurt Marathon several years ago and though it's much smaller, I'd be interested to know how the two races compare? Thanks for another thoughtful review, and run strong in Chicago! I'll be interested to read about your Windy City weekend. LESS

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    YanisNanashi Sep 29, 2017 at 1:15pm

    Hi Mike! Thanks for your comment. Yes, the expo of the Berlin marathon and also of the Berlin half marathon has been moved from the airport hangar (which I also… MORE

    Hi Mike! Thanks for your comment. Yes, the expo of the Berlin marathon and also of the Berlin half marathon has been moved from the airport hangar (which I also liked) to a even more centrally located exhibition centre and I do like the expo. Frankfurt marathon is super! I live in Frankfurt and I have run Frankfurt several times. It´s also a fast course - I would say as fast as Berlin. We also do have he top elite runners here. The expo is quite big and with more than 12.000 runners finishing the 42k it´s Germany´s second largest marathon - even bigger than Hamburg and Cologne. Runners love the flat course and the fact that it takes place at the end of october. Weather conditions were perfect last year. The atmosphere is good, but not comparable to Berlin. You must know that Frankfurt is a quite small city which leads to the fact that the course has to leave downtown behind and then it gets a bit quiter before you return to downtown. The finish into the famous Festhalle (it´s an old beautiful concert hall) is awsome! I really like the race and I can highly recommend it! LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 29, 2017 at 2:10pm

    Much appreciated, Jens! Frankfurt definitely sounds like a fun race and one I'd appreciate, especially if it means another trip to Germany – loved Berlin and hope to visit again… MORE

    Much appreciated, Jens! Frankfurt definitely sounds like a fun race and one I'd appreciate, especially if it means another trip to Germany – loved Berlin and hope to visit again one day soon! LESS

     
    karenfuss FIRST-TIMER '16

    Very well organized, large Expo. I stayed at a hotel that was listed on the website and it was right behind the start area and also had some orientation type … MORE

    Very well organized, large Expo. I stayed at a hotel that was listed on the website and it was right behind the start area and also had some orientation type things that were unaffiliated with the race to help out runners staying there. The breakfast run the day before at the Olympiastadion was amazing. An unbeatable finish and medal with the Brandenburger Tor. The spectators were plentiful and provided a lot of energy, plus private musical acts that were very regularly placed along the course. I definitely recommend.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '16

    For a big time, big city, 38,000 participant marathon, this race was really well run. Although getting in is via lottery or through a tour agency, the fact that it … MORE

    For a big time, big city, 38,000 participant marathon, this race was really well run. Although getting in is via lottery or through a tour agency, the fact that it is one of the 6 World Marathon Majors, makes this race extra exciting.
    Expo: busy, crowded, jammed into a fairly small venue. I could not get in and out fast enough. I was very concerned about the race itself, and the anticipated large crowds after going to the expo. Definitely treat yourself to a “cocktail” prior to the expo, just to be relaxed. 🙂
    Race morning: if you stay downtown, the race starts and finishes very close to the Potsdam Platz area. Easy to walk to and from the race and local hotels. I stayed at the Marriott, but there are several close by hotels to stay at, and the bus/subway station is also close by and easily used race morning.
    The Berlin Marathon course: flat, easy to run, tons of spectators, very well organised as far as 8 groups, and spacing out the start. Except for the first quarter mile, i always felt that i had plenty of room to run. After the chaos of the expo, i had concerns about the race course. No worries! The start was in a large fenced off park area. As i arrived early, i had lots of room to just lay on the ground and relax before the race. Lots of activity going on, but plenty of space to feel comfortable and relaxed.
    Crowds and spectators: almost the entire course is run to enable spectators, and there were plenty, cheering and encouraging the runners. I never felt claustrophobic, as i felt in the London marathon.
    Swag: you must purchase a t shirt if you want one. The medal is nice sized, and a definite tribute to the city and a previous runner. Otherwise, NO SWAG.
    The course, as advertised is flat and fast. Running through a bit of history, one really needs to look at your surroundings. I would say the Berlin marathon was one of my most enjoyable of the large marathons. Being one of the majors, made it that much better.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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