Date: 26.09.2021 Time: 2:56:17 Distance: 42.2km
In the days leading up to the Berlin Marathon 2021 it was slowly becoming clear that it would be a challenging race. Each day the weather forecast suggested a slightly increased temperature and a little less cloud. This heat combined with the fact that it was only two weeks after Innsbruck 85K should have been enough to make me realise that I was not going to be able to get a brilliant time.
But undeterred by reality I decide to set off for a 2:45 marathon, since that was just about the best time I could have done if I was rested and the conditions were favourable.
To cut a long story shot; this was a mistake.
A big mistake.
I was running with Michael, who was also in 2:45 shape, and we were trying to approach the race as an efficient team. We were in the same start pen and running together really kept our pacing spot on for the first half. Each Km was no more than a few seconds away from our target pace.
There were a few real highlights in the first half of the run, mostly when we saw our friends out on the course cheering us on. It was really nice to have so many of the Berlin Social Runners crew out there supporting. Having never lived in a big city before, I’ve never had the chance to do a major marathon in my home town. So it was awesome to run though parts of the city I knew well and bump into so many friendly faces as we ran.
We didn’t let the fun get in the way of our hob though, and we had true mechanical efficiency up to the 24k point before things began to fall apart. I was certainly already feeling it when Michael said he needed to slow the pace and dropped off a little.
Naively I pushed on, even though I knew deep down that I was overheating.
I didn’t last long before slowing even more dramatically than Michael. At around the 26k mark he overtook and sped ahead. For me the next 16km were survival mode. I had messed up my pacing by setting off way too fast and was paying for it now.
At each water station I tipped a cup of water over my head to try and cool, but to be honest by that point the damage was done. I was cooked and it was all I could do to struggle to the finish line with vomiting.
Thankfully I managed to avoid vomiting, and crossed the finish line in 2:56, with Michael doing a few mins better. Big city races have a lot of advantages to them, but there is often a long distance to walk between crossing the finish line and anywhere to sit. This was particularly rough in Berlin because the walk was in direct sunshine, so it was still hot while walking.
While it was unfavourable running weather it was perfect weather to relax in the sunshine. So we did just that. A drink and a chat on the warm grass was just nice enough to make me feel slightly better about the distance of a race I had just put myself though.
Even though it wasn’t the result I wanted I still had a good day. Running though my home city and seeing so many friend cheering was a wonderful experience and I will likely run it again next year with the aim of a faster time.