Berlin Marathon 2023 report by Sam Ainscough

Sam Ainscough stood next to a giant inflatable beer bottle that is only partly in shot

Race date: 24 September 2023

Race distance: marathon

Race report by Sam Ainscough

Guten Tag!

If it’s good enough for Kipchoge, it’s good enough for me.

After all the delays of my previous marathon in Paris, I decided to take an early Friday flight to Berlin (via Frankfurt) so that I could have a nice relaxing day at the Expo and then sight-see on Saturday. But as it’s tradition, delays hindered me yet again! Missed my connection at Frankfurt so I had a lovely 4.5hr train journey to Berlin and arrived at approx 9pm. Das ist nicht gut!

Delays had impacted my Friday planning, but Saturday was going to be a dream – I booked a hotel 400m away from Hasenheide parkrun. This was cancelled though, so I made the brave/stupid decision to wake up at 6am and travel 100+ miles to Halle to complete the Ziegelwiese parkrun. It’s a great course and it gets me a step closer to completing the Alphabeteer challenge.

Visited the Expo at 12:30ish and it was very well organised. Managed to pick my bib up relatively quickly and then had a little exploration of all the over-priced merchandise.

Rather than see the delights in central Berlin in the afternoon, I headed over to Stadion An der Alten Försterei to watch Union Berlin take on Hoffenheim. Brilliant atmosphere but no seats in my stand – not a good idea to be stood up for 2 hours straight the day before a marathon!

Then the day of reckoning! I took a combination of U-bahn and S-bahn to just-off the Reichstag building – I decided to arrive early so that I could shake off any pre-run nerves. Very well organised as you’d expect from one of the big marathons. Once I’d made my way to my starting pen, we were shown Kipchoge on the big screen – what a legend! Once he’d set off with the elites, the waves of mere mortals started to make slow progress towards the start.

The event was a bit of a blur. I hit the wall many times (ironically) – after 20-25km, my pace started to drop considerably – a combination of a long trip to the US in the summer and a lack of decent training in the build-up was starting to show! I had to take it 1km at a time to keep myself going. Once I hit 38km, I had to resort to a run/walk strategy. I crossed in the line in 4:07:51 – a personal worst!

To celebrate/commiserate? Currywurst and a good few German wheat beers!

In hindsight, I’m glad I completed the run, but I probably wouldn’t do it again – although I do love a very flat marathon, there was nothing much in terms of landmarks to look forward to seeing. The start and finish are beautiful, but the middle 40km was generally dull!

Eliud Kipchoge won the race, in 2:02:42, with Tigst Assefa first woman in 2:11:53.


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Striders result

P Name Cat Time
17176 Sam Ainscough M35 4:07:51

Full results:

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