This report comes courtesy of Paul Richardson
Having secured my charity place in the Berlin Marathon 2014 sometime ago, the idea was that I would train hard for 16 weeks and beat my PB of 3.23 along the way to my running ambition of doing the 6 world marathon majors. I arrived in Berlin on Friday evening, headed straight for expo to pick up my number. On leaving I realised that I was in Zone H, at the back! I returned there next day asking to change zones, and was told that I needed evidence of my best time. Moved up to Zone D! Thank goodness for Power of Ten stats.
Knowing that I would have terrible sleep on the night before the race, I bagged a good sleep on the Friday night.
A relaxing Saturday in Berlin was followed by the expected terrible sleep. Breakfast at 6am was cold porridge and bread rolls washed down with Powerade. Then it was off to the start, full of nerves. No excuses for this race – Niggle free, perfect conditions, no breeze and a flat course. PB was a must.
Lining up, this felt like a proper runner’s race and the gun went off dead on 8.45am. Aiming for a 3.15 finish I got my head down, set off at 7.25 min mile pace and kept to it religiously, coasting through the first half marathon. At 7 miles a totally unexpected “Come on North Shields” gave me goosebumps and spurred me on.
It was a sunny day and I was worried about the heat, but the majority of the course was shaded by trees and buildings. Everything was going to plan. Mile 16 I pulled an energy gel out of my back pocket to find it had burst. And then I had an epic Elastoplast fail on my chest so I was not a pretty sight.
Regular waterstops, in plastic cups and the first one went down the wrong way from trying to run and drink. From then on I adapted to a power walking/drinking routine. The support and atmosphere on the course was fairly good, but nowhere near as good as London which I think is hard to beat.
Mile 20, still mentally strong, keeping to 7.25 pace and the conditions were still perfect. I was daring to think I could go sub 3.15. Not overtaking anyone but not being overtaken. Then the mental & physical battles began at mile 22. This was the furthest I had trained and my mind started asking questions. I was having to work harder to keep pace. Another unexpected North Shields cheer gave another boost but the last 2 miles were a struggle. As soon as you see someone walking your body tells you to stop and walk.
I saw the Brandenburg Gate and thought it was the finish, so I sprinted through it. But it wasn’t the finish so a second sprint finish was needed for a distance of 26.5 miles, 3.16.04 on the Garmin. Disappointed not to go 3.15, I told myself I should be happy with 3.16. I then saw my Poly running buddy Jim Richardson and we grabbed a pint of alcohol-free beer and talked about the race. We then collected our certificate print outs and mine said 3.15.59. I am well pleased and think my 2 sprint finishes paid off.
A brilliant, well organised marathon-would definitely recommend it. Proudly I tell others that I ran in in a world record race.
3 Poly runners and 3 PB’s.
Jim Richardson ran 3.16.57
Jenny Simpson ran 3.57.04