Berlin S25 run reports by Seth Kirby, Catherine McKeown and Graham Nield

Berlin S25 2024 Race Reports and Results

Race date: Sunday 5th May 2024

The first weekend of May saw a number of Striders travel to Berlin to celebrate Peggy’s Birthday. Amongst the sites and attractions visited we took part in parkrun to the south west of the city followed by a terrific parkrun breakfast special – this could be a fantastic addition to any UK parkrun. I duly obliged taking advantage of stacking as much food on one plate!

Hasenheide parkrun group photo

Later on in the day, we collected our race numbers from a shopping centre not far away on the subway. Some of us were able to get snaps with the race mascot too! Below you will find a collection of reports from the various S25 race distances courtesy of Catherine, Graham and me (Seth).

S25 expo

Berlin 25 report by Catherine McKeown

The 10k, half marathon and 25k participants all started together just in front of the Olympic Rings, we gathered in expected finish time pens. With so many runners it was very busy with a few stop start moments as we headed out onto the road. It was raining and warm too, humid with all the runners packed into the first couple of miles as the course took us through streets local to the Olympic Stadium.

The Strava map looks like there is a lost connection as it has a really long straight line, but there really is a really long straight line. Lots happened during the really long straight line:

– The 10k runners peeled off to the right;

– It stopped raining;

– We ran towards then past the Victory Column with the golden angel shining as the sun began to break through the clouds;

– Hasenheide parkrun Run Director and other members of the team had a huge banner and gave us a big “Sheffield” shout out as we ran alongside Tiergarten park,

– A large group of folk on a walking tour of Berlin decided it was a good idea to just cross in front of hundreds of runners (I don’t think anyone got hurt);

– The half marathon runners peeled off to the right;

Then there we were, just the 25k participants with the Brandenburg Gate in our sights, running underneath was very cool, big grins all around and lots of cheering.

After Brandenburg the course worked its way through central Berlin taking in the former West Berlin Rathaus (Town Hall) and through a business district onto zoo station where there is the bombed out church and it’s uber modern rebuild. It was pretty hot as the sun was well and truly making its presence known, I kept ducking into shade where I could and was followed by the 2:30 pacer who kept taking off his flag to give it an airing (bit sweaty with that kit on).

At some point the half marathon runners rejoined the course and it all got a little busier especially at the water stations. Soon enough we were back in a more suburban district and there it was, the Olympic Stadium ahead in touching distance, but hang on, the distance marker only showed 23km! The course took us out away from the stadium to a turn around point.

Happily heading back towards the stadium, there was one more turn and we were directed down the tunnel into the stadium. Whatever distance, this finish was the same for all and it was immense, entering the stadium and running around the track to the roar of spectators was a total privilege, pretty emotional too.

Swift handing out of medals and a walk up 88 steps (might not have been that many, I lost count as there were a lot) the beer queue beckoned. We all received two complimentary pints of Berlin’s finest beer and we found a nice spot in the sunshine to enjoy.

Super well organised event which seemed to be popular with plenty of supporters out on the course and a good camaraderie amongst runners, definitely worth doing.

Berlin S25 10k report by Graham Nield

There was never any option for me but to choose the 10K race. The fact that I had developed plantar fasciitis a few weeks beforehand put the whole thing in jeopardy. However, it had to be done as I was not prepared to miss out on the thrill of running into the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. Somehow your running posture improves as you get closer to the finish and hear the buzz in the stadium. On a personal note, my heel pain did not subside for the race and consequently, I could not concentrate on any sort of improvement which I had been looking forward to.

The whole Berlin experience was tremendous with a packed itinerary, brilliantly organised by Richard Pegg to celebrate a milestone birthday.

The 10K road race you could describe as a lasso and was well marshalled and water and banana stops on the way. Most of the route was very dull as it did not take in any of the iconic sights taken in by the 25K runners. You get to see the stadium around 8K and then have to circumnavigate through parkland before going into the tunnel and finally finishing on the track.

Berlin S25 5k report by Seth Kirby

I would like to think I have an interesting story to offer here so let’s not waste your time and I’ll get stuck right in. Firstly, entering the 5k race may seem a little bit like a cop out for me, but I’m not really focused on the longer distances this year so when I saw there was a 5k option, I thought why not?! After collecting my race number the day before I spotted that I had the wrong name on my bib in the early hours of the race. Not to worry I thought, nothing will come of it… The 5k was due to set off half an hour before the other distances. I prepared that I would be able to spectate the others out on course having made a failed last ditched attempt to enter the 10k race at the expo. The race would go in and around the Olympiapark – so around the Olympic Stadium. Ellie and I arrived before the rest of the hoardes of runners and I was able to drop off my kit with relative ease (more on this later). For once I had decided to bring some actual race shoes to wear, still not carbon though – but fewer miles on the foam. Legs felt well rested during the warm-up which is normally a bad sign but other Striders had arrived by this point and they all wished ‘Tamara’ good luck in her endeavours. Face forward to the starting pen and there were the usual dignitaries offering their encouragement followed by a group warm-up before the race. There was a left and right starting pen, presumably to separate the 10k and 25k runners but this worked well for the start of this race too. A few kids crowded the start line in the right hand pen just in front of me, then we were set off.

In the first few hundred metres of the race, lots of people got giddy but I burned off a couple of runners up the slight incline around the corner – a hill I was not expecting (but to be fair I hadn’t checked the course route!). I quickly found myself in 4th just behind a guy and two runners out ahead. By about mile 1, I settled into a consistent pace around the park and moved into 3rd place. The course was filled with long flat straight paths with only a few turns, so fairly uneventful. At the 2nd mile, we started to head into an airfield with what looked like ruins around the outside. I now started to panic as the two others were quite far in the distance and I couldn’t see anyone behind. Why was I panicking you might ask? Well, Tamara could now place on the podium if I kept this up. I was really concerned I was going to mess up the organisers’ prizes to the women, something I had not really considered before the race. To take my mind off this I was thinking about where they are going to take us next as there was still a mile to go. I could now see the stadium in sight and assumed we were going to go back into the park, past the rest of the 5k runners and finish where we started. We did go past some of the other runners but then turned the corner and went down a tunnel in what looked like a car park. This downhill headed towards a band playing at the bottom, a welcomed sight. I made a left turn and saw we were entering the stadium. Doing a lap of the track in such a historic stadium is a moment to saviour! I managed to see the clock as it was closing in on 16 minutes and thought that’s not right… However, I thought to myself I can work this out later (the course did seem under 5k…). A lady then presented me with a card saying 3rd male finisher with instructions (in German and English) and I congratulated the two male runners who finished in 1st and 2nd. A nice surprise was that Ellie managed to see me finish before her race too!

New profile shot? Great to finish in an Olympic Stadium!

This is where I thought my tale might end but this is only the beginning (sorry about this!). My first issue needing resolving for the organisers is who the hell is this guy because we don’t think you are Tamara. I was escorted up the steps to the race organisers’ room and asked for my details. I explained that I picked up the wrong number at the expo. The race director was generally fine about the whole situation and once my details were amended I was taken back down to the finish area. At this stage, I was told that I was required to go to the anti-doping control room for drug testing. This I thought would be a straightforward task – how wrong I was… To start with, I had to be minded by my ‘catcher’ (this was referred to on my podium instructions) until I provided my urine sample. We were walked from the finisher area beyond the seats and out the main doors to a tent beside the ceremony and presentation stand. Within this tent, there was a range of juices alongside some water and fruit. I had a quick chat with my German counterparts who did not want to talk to me for some reason. This was not unusual, but what was strange was that they had already provided their sample before entering the tent from what I gathered. I am so dehydrated after finishing any race and this was not any different. The sun was out and the weather was a bit humid however nothing too extreme. I needed to drink a fair amount of water in order to be able to go to the toilet. So I spent the next 15 minutes just drinking whilst reminiscing with the other runners in the 5k race.

By this point, I was asked to prove my identity. A reasonable request I suppose but this was another difficult situation for them. As my passport was back at the hotel, I did not have any other forms of ID in my possession. I offered a solution saying there was a copy of my passport on my phone which was in the baggage area. My first catcher escorted me to this baggage zone. I did explain that this was a long walk around the stadium (perhaps a 10 minute trip) but he insisted on me getting access to this ID. As we approached the baggage area he was starting to become increasingly frustrated with this walk and my conversation. I stated that I could just hand over my prize to someone else as I just wanted to watch my friends finish and he said he was following the race protocol. On our way back to the tent I asked whether I could go for a wee, hoping that I would be taken to some toilets to piss into a bottle (to put it bluntly). He said no and that I would be led to the anti doping control room. I thought that this tent was the control site but apparently, that was only the holding area. This minder then handed me over to another guy in the tent (got rid of one, I thought…). However, this new chap was a little bit more amenable and seemed to be fairly relaxed about the process.

My new catcher explained whilst escorting Aneta (who finished in 2nd place and lives in the UK) and myself to doping control that we would not be able to fully complete our tests before the medal ceremony. He walked us back into the stadium through the VIP access and behind the scenes of Hertha Berlin’s facilities to the doping control room. I was met by the anti-doping officer for the German Athletics Association and signed my life away for an extended period of time (but generally just confirming that I haven’t consumed any illegal substances barring my daily iron supplements…). Then I was led back through the stadium past the finishing area and back to the medal ceremony. By this time, the 10k runners emerged and I got speaking to one of the guys from the UK who finished on the podium for the 10k event. He asked to be released and if we could possibly go for a cool-down. Both of our requests were denied and he was frustrated that he couldn’t see his partner finish either! The ceremony started late and I was the first to be awarded my prize on the stage – two tickets to the ISTAF Berlin track and field meeting in September. 2nd place was presented with a backpack, unlucky!

Doping control room

Following the ceremonies we were taken once again on another long trek back to the confines of doping control. I was now gasping for the toilet. Once back with the chief of anti-doping she asked me to go to the toilet next door with my catcher to be watched to wee into a cup, until I reached the black line on the tub. He insisted on saying that the delegate had started urinating out loud, quite offputting really… (weirdest bit yet to come!). I popped the lid back on the cup and placed this onto the desk as requested. She then opened up a package with two separate containers for A and B samples (you know what’s coming next…). In front of the officer I was asked to pour my urine into these two containers trying not to spill any on the table! I thought that it was strange that she wasn’t wearing gloves as she placed the samples into the box. In all honesty I wouldn’t basically like to be holding someone else’s piss in my hand other than in an emergency. She then attached the ID numbers to the package and I re-confirmed my personal details. After all this, I could now be sent on my way. This time they just left me to my own devices to exit the building. I noticed some museum displays and football shirt memorabilia on my way in, so I stopped to take a closer look as there was no one no longer watching over me! This whole process perhaps took nearly 2 hours. On reflection, a fairly long time I felt for an event of this nature and I just arrived to spot Nicole finishing her 10k in the stadium. I walked back up the steps to go and get a non alcoholic beer and saw Nicole to have a mini debrief of the event. Now there were masses of runners queuing for food and drinks, a touch annoying to effectively miss out on some freebies considering how long ago I finished! I turned the corner and saw Helen, Nancy and Ellie appear just beyond the baggage point and discussed their experiences as well as recapping my race experience too. A couple of weeks on from the event and I still have not received official notification of my test result, but I imagine my sample will show traces of either EPO or Galaxy chocolate, one of the two.

Race Results

The men’s 25k race was won by Vincent Kimutai Towett (Run2Gether) in a time of 1:15:23 and the women’s race was won by Morine Gesare Michira (also of Run2Gether) who finished in 1:30:24. 2806 runners completed the race.

Men’s winner of the 10K was Daniel Mulryan of Thames Valley Harriers in 31m. 46. First woman was Carolin Kirtzel of SV Werder Bremen in 35m. 1s. 2422 runners completed the race.

The men’s 5k race was won by Lance Franke (Team Berliner Pilsner) in a time of 14:27 and the women’s race was won by Sarah Schnittert-Hübener (unattached) who finished in 19:36. 811 runners completed the race.

Striders 25k results (I can’t find Peggy on the results but he definitely ran around the Olympic Stadium’s track, as once I was dismissed from anti doping I watched him finish! This time is from Strava):

Position Name Category Category position Time
* Richard Pegg M65 * *2:08:08
765 Ian Stinson M50 87 2:10:34
1427 Catherine McKeown W55 14 2:24:33


Striders 10k results:

Position Name Category Category position Time
591 Mike Heselton M60 13 54:33
1132 Caroline Brash W45 32 1:00:24
1232 Eleanor Bull W35 43 1:01:39
1359 Nicole Nield W70 3 1:02:51
1598 Helen Smith W45 79 1:05:43
1659 Nancy Stuart W45 86 1:06:34
1744 Peter Brash M55 112 1:07:43
2385 Graham Nield M70 42 1:27:13


Striders 5k result:

Position Name Category Time
3 Seth Kirby (Tamara) M30 15:56

Happy faces for most of us at the finish!

The full results can be found here.

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