How to run a marathon in Berlin and witness a world record

We publish the story of our regular author Artyom Sokolov about how he prepared for the marathon (it was not so simple), ran 42 kilometers (it wasn’t without problems on the track) and realized that everything still loves other sports.

How to run a marathon in Berlin and witness a world record

Artyom Sokolov // Photo: Maxim Serikov

- I want to start with a disclaimer, because I am convinced that the author of such texts has a huge responsibility to readers. If the story that you read below inspires you to exploits, try to soberly evaluate your own preparation (and even better, consult a specialist) and in no case take an example from me.

I always regarded the running marathon as quite serious test and a new step in sports life, which should be thoroughly approached. I have developed certain ideas about when and under what conditions I should run a marathon.

But like any momentous event, the decision to run 42 kilometers came suddenly: I was offered a free slot for a marathon in Berlin - and I, without hesitation, agreed. By the way, of all my conditions, the only thing was observed - it should be a landmark interesting start outside of Russia. The German major came up perfectly.

How to run a marathon in Berlin and witness a world record

Photo: Maxim Serikov

My relationship with running is complicated: when I decided to run a marathon, I didn’t run at all for about six months, there were only two long distances in my “career”. At the same time, I perceived my first half marathon as really something important and serious, like a difficult exam.

Thoughts about the first marathon did not take away my emotional strength at all - and it played into my hands. In addition, I did not have time to fully prepare for the race. Firstly, in principle, there was not much time left before the marathon, and secondly, I was getting ready for the bike start - it was a priority, and it took me all my free time.

Closer to the point, I set myself the goal of running the marathon in four and a half hours and began training. Already at the first long training, it became clear that it would not be easy (and fun) for sure: for a long time I could not get used to the monotonous load.

Even a few hours on a bicycle are easier: you can get out of the saddle, shift gear, change the position of your hands on the steering wheel, and if you are traveling in a group, you can always hide "inside" and not spend a lot of energy. In running, all this does not work - in order to move on, one way or another you have to move your legs, even if you have absolutely no strength left. Just two days before the start from the Brandenburg Gate, my friend adjusted the running technique, adapted it to a long distance. Then, for the first time, I probably felt confident in myself.

How to run a marathon in Berlin and witness a world record

Photo: Maxim Serikov

Next, go to Tempelhof Berlin Airport, which was closed ten years ago, where the expo was launched and organized the issuance of starting numbers.

Questions revolved in my head - how the huge building could have survived so well after so many years of inactivity (all the signs worked inside, all the signs hung) and how the organizers thought of making an expo in such a territory. It seemed that the airport was just a day off, the classic Berlin rave would come here at night, and tomorrow again passengers would fly from here to all corners of the planet.

Next flashback: I’m running at the very beginning of the race (the fourth or fifth kilometer) along the sidewalk, tacking between parked scooters, bike stands, trees and fans who are trying to clear the way for the runners, but cannot get out of this human stream. This happened because of the rather narrow streets in residential areas where the first almost ten kilometers lie. To run at your own pace, you have to run a little outside the fenced track.

How to run a marathon in Berlin and witness a world record

Photo: Maxim Serikov

The first "ten" I run easily. Closer to the middle of the distance, I realize that I’ve been running at a fairly decent pace for such a long time, I understand that I can add more, and I swing at four o’clock. I’m as relaxed as possible, I don’t look at my watch, I catch the melody of street reggae musicians, which is similar to the hit of the band “Forbidden Drummers”. However, I always keep two things in mind: you can’t run your first marathon exactly with the data that I have, and I must try to add so as not to fall out of the desired result for a tiny couple of minutes. The idea to meet at four o'clock captivates - I can close the marathon gestalt in the near future.

Closer to the thirtieth kilometer, two unpleasant events happen within a minute: the watch loses its GPS signal, and I have to run “by touch” for a long time, not knowing my pace; The energy gel that I take at the nutrition point is on my T-shirt. Of course, I don’t worry about my appearance at all, but in general there are enough inconveniences. I’ve passed a 30-kilometer cut-off with a sure time for my schedule: I even thought that if I could pick up my result as in the game “Who wants to become a millionaire?”, I would stop at that moment.

How to run a marathon in Berlin and witness a world record

After a couple of kilometers I have GPS is finally turned on. Although I'm tired, I still start to run a little faster.

I immediately learn about a new world record - one of the viewers wrote with a marker on ordinary cardboard. In general, running through an improvised stadium is a little easier, although sometimes you just want to run for a minute without people around. Attention switches to fans, posters, street musicians; I don’t think about how many kilometers are left to the finish line. In this sense, the Moscow marathon, where I help the judges, is perhaps the quietest.

After the 35th kilometer, my legs refuse to work, I first start falling out of the schedule, trying to somehow start the engine again, but I only have enough for 200-300 meters.

It’s only afloat that there is not much left to go, and a bottle of beer, which I specially put in a bag with things in the morning. A couple of kilometers before the finish, the pacer overtakes me at 4:15, and I finally stop pushing, start posing for cameras, smile at the fans and enjoy Berlin.

How to run a marathon in Berlin and witness a world record

Photo: Maxim Serikov

Then there was a finish at the Brandenburg gate, 4:18:10 on the clock ( my result), a beautiful medal, that same beer and long talk about cycling, which I fell in love with during these few hours even more and even made plans for the next season. The next morning I realized that I was practically present at the establishment of a world record (who knows how much more he will remain unbroken), ran one of the best marathons in the world, which, with full preparation, will run him for 3:45. The rest is nothing special: it was difficult to move up the stairs, but the cycling removed all the unpleasant sensations, and within a day I felt as if there was no marathon.

In the end, it’s customary to give advice, I will try to follow the trend, but I will do it in the words of the famous Russian marathon runner, a participant in two Olympics, a trainer and author of running books Leonid Shvetsov, with whom I managed to talk for a few days before the Berlin start: "You need to remember your health and go to the start only if you are confident in your preparation, otherwise you can cause irreparable harm to the body."

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