The Berlin Marathon 2016 - A race for everyone in a great city

A fantastic experience to be in the same race as the fastest long distance runners in the world

Our build up to Berlin had not been great. Between holidays, Red Hat Summit in SF, Red Hat Tech Exchange in Vietnam and a week of post-Vietnam illness, I only managed to get a few long runs in. D’wife also tripped whilst running, less than a week beforehand, and smashed her face up badly. But we had done the Clonakilty 10 Miler which we both felt went well. So we flew from Dublin the day before without too many nerves.

As soon as I set foot in the Expo to collect race numbers etc, the nerves started. Marathon number seven, the fourth one this year, but I felt like it was my first. The rest of the day was taken up with Checkpoint Charlie, the deeply moving Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and some of the worst service we’ve ever had in a restaurant.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Checkpoint Charlie

A real highlight was the kids race on Saturday. Over 10,000 children took part, along with a bunch of teachers. I’d love to see the Dublin or Cork Marathons do the same.

Kid's Race

The hotel was barely a 10 minute walk to the start line. The number of people at the start line was nuts. Just like London. The buzz we got when they showed the elites taking off was fantastic. I’ve said it a few times on Twitter already, but in what other sport can anyone take part in the same race as the fastest people in the world by just paying your few quid entrance fee? I hope this never changes as it makes long distance running something very special indeed.

Start Line

The course is dead flat, which is why the world record is broken here so often. Sadly I didn’t break the record on this occasion. Maybe next time.

I loved the run. Despite the lack of prep and illness, I felt physically very strong the whole way around. I can’t say the same thing about my brain which took 17 miles to settle down and STFU. The drinks stations were mental but they always arrived just as I needed them. And whoever is responsible for putting warm sweet tea at the drinks station needs to be paid a massive bonus.

The finish through Brandenburger Tor was one of those spine tingling moments.

The German supporters were interesting. I found them a big help. There were lots of them (tho not at London levels) and they cheered lots. They also had music every mile or so which was fantastic, apart from the jazz obvs. But they don’t shout your name like they do in London. In fact the only people who did shout were Brits and Aussies!

I got a Personal Best by only a few minutes (my Garmin data was garbage for some reason) and I felt pretty good within a few minutes of finishing, unlike Cork and Killarney where I was very wobbly.

Multiple pints and currywurst later and I was sorted. Thanks to Eoghan and Sabrina for that!


Highly recommended if you want to do a fast flat marathon in an iconic city.


Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland