I thought I’d be sick of marathons by now but entering the Berlin Marathon Ballot back in November 2015 was far too tempting. Fast forward to January 2016, and we (Mike Webb and I) were in as an ‘international pair’. Sounds awesome- like we were fast or something. Not quite.
I set off at the back of Pen H, running nice and slowly as my legs began to feel extremely heavy. I didn’t expect to have heavy legs so soon, the first 5k seemed like far too much of a struggle. I managed to hit the half way mark in around 2hrs 10, so I knew I was doing alright. Around Mile 16 I was greeted by a fellow Brit and asked the same question that I get asked in most big races- is Hyde Park in London? Later, I was chatting to someone from Rothwell who knew exactly who we were- so that balanced it out nicely.
At around Mile 18 or 19, I saw a fellow Harriers vest. As I got closer I saw it was Mike who was refuelling at the energy station. The chances of seeing a fellow harrier were so slim, I found it both funny and encouraging that we were able to cheer each other on. It had become so warm at this point, I was drinking a cup of water and throwing another down my back to cool off.
Miles 20 to 25 were an absolute blur, although I can remember running past my hotel and that I starting winding across the road as I couldn’t run straight. I was seriously lacking in energy. At Mile 25 one of the marshals shouted my name through a megaphone which was loud but lovely nonetheless. As we were winding through the city centre, I was wondering when I might see landscape I recognised. A sharp turn led us to the Brandenburg Gate, which was a very welcome sight. As I ran through it, I started to tear up, the pain was over and finishing was about a minute away. That minute felt like forever but it was done. After a bit of stumbling around, I was asleep on my kit bag, with a foil blanket and a chunky medal around my neck. Bliss.