BMW Berlin Marathon experience; what it’s like to run in Berlin ahead of BMW Berlin Marathon 2024

Marathon Tours & Travel Product Manager ahead of the 2023 BMW Berlin Marathon

The BMW Berlin Marathon 2023 was yet another incredible event in the German capital, with almost 48,000 runners taking part and the Women’s Marathon World Record smashed by Tigst Assefa. It was also an incredibly special race for our Marathon Tours & Travel team, as our Product Manager Sarah Boyd took part in the race as well! Here’s what she made of her BMW Berlin Marathon experience…

Sarah recorded an incredible sub-4-hour time of 3 hours 57 minutes, despite signing up relatively late in the process for the marathon and not having a full training programme. She noted that her BMW Berlin Marathon 2023 experience has motivated her to keep pushing further; “It would be interesting to see what time I might achieve if I stuck to a 16-week training program. I ran a 3.57 time, so the itch is there now to try and improve and challenge myself to start setting some targets, I’ve normally only really ran for enjoyment and to look after my mental and physical health, but the competitive spirit in me is reawakening!”

The BMW Berlin Marathon is renowned for being one of the fastest and flattest courses in the major marathon calendar, in particularly within the Seven Continents Club roster. Sarah commented that it remains a tough achievement, but the course was a significant help; “I don’t think anyone could call a marathon easy – but for me it was the best I’d felt while running marathon distance. It’s so flat and fast so while that’s a good recipe for ‘easy running’ it also makes your run hard! There’s also loads of people running so there are times when it’s quite tight in there!”

A marathon runner during the BMW Berlin Marathon 2023
The BMW Berlin Marathon is always a fun-filled affair in one of the most metropolitan cities in the world. [Source: Marathon Tours & Travel]

But it’s the carnival and party atmosphere that makes the BMW Berlin Marathon so popular. There are few courses in the world that offer the history and landmarks throughout the course, whilst remaining so central to the city it’s located in. Sarah added that the course, crowd and carnival atmosphere provide some much-need motivation throughout the run; “Berlin had an amazing atmosphere, the best I’ve ever experienced. At times the crowd were so narrow, it felt like you were parting the sea! It was phenomenal. As cliché as it is the crowd does carry you along. Even from the start, once you’re in your wave, edging forward to the start line, the music is going and runners are dancing, clapping and just enjoying themselves. Running through Brandenburg Gate at the end is surreal, an amazing way to finish!”

Not only is Berlin a great city to run in, it’s a great city to visit as well. Offering history, culture and great food and drink, the German capital is one of the most metropolitan locations in Europe and is the ultimate city break location. “Berlin is a really interesting city and good value for money, for a capital city, prices are relatively low. I stayed at the Intercity, which is just next to Berlin Central Station and an absolute peach of a location. Just 15 minutes walking distance to the race start and end, next to Brandenburg gate. My legs really appreciated the short walk back after the race! Not only was it handy for the race location, it was close to some top sights. For getting out to some further away places or if you wanted to rest your legs in the days leading up, you get a free transport pass with your entry which was super! The public transport is really accessible and easy to use, so I made good use of this perk.”

Sarah provided us with a few recommendations when you visit; “The Tiergarten is a beautiful spot in autumn, from here you can access the river for a scenic stroll. There’s also good vintage shopping and all the prominent sites such as the East Side Gallery and the Jewish Memorial are well worth a visit, and of course you must try Currywurst!”

Marathon Tours & Travel representation at the BMW Berlin Marathon 2023. [Source: Marathon Tours & Travel]

As well as running the BMW Berlin Marathon, Sarah was also assisting hundreds of runners that we helped to support in Berlin, making for a wonderful, rewarding experience; “Running with our clients was a great way to further understand the runners needs when travelling overseas for a large race and share in their excitement and nerves! I was in a unique situation where I could support them in getting the best out of their experience while fully appreciating the journey it takes for them to get there.”

Persuaded to take part in the BMW Berlin Marathon? Take a look at our 2024 packages…

Still need some extra persuasion? Read our Berlin destination guide…