Berlin marathon 2012

Report from Bruce.

Before this race Geoffrey Mutai had announced his intentions to have a go at the world record – and with a flat course and a cold but sunny morning things were looking good. With the Siegessaule glinting in the sunshine and the motivational music pumping it was hard not to get sucked into the mood on the start line.

A great start – 3.06 for the first km, and it didn’t even feel that hard. You’d better watch out Mutai! Oh no, wait, turns out that marker was way off as everyone’s GPS watch started beeping a minute later. Oh well, back to business. Plan A was to get under 2.40, plan B was sub 2:41.24 (i.e. a PB) and plan C was sub 2.45. Of course, there’d be no need for a plan D.

All was going well, the crowds were out in force and although it was sunny there was plenty of shade along the route. Having km markers was great, they were just flying by, and I’d fallen in with a couple of guys who had non-committal “somewhere between 2.40 and 2.45” target times and we ran together, trying to eek out a wee bit of chat here and there.

It was at about 11-12km that things started to get really tough. These legs did not feel like they were about to kick into another gear. I was still technically on track for plan A, but that was definitely slipping. By the time I got to halfway I was definitely onto plan B. I’d arranged to meet Nina just after halfway but hadn’t really counted on the pavements being about 10-deep with supporters. Oh-oh! Luckily we spotted each other, and a seamless handover of gel and a drink was executed.

Buoyed by seeing a friendly face and some energy gel safely ingested it was only a matter of time before I would push on again. I hoped. Just another km, then I’ll start pushing…..OK, I’ll wait til the next one….. don’t worry about all these folk coming past, I’ll catch them in a minute….the legs won’t feel so tight and hobbly in a while….

It’s when things aren’t going well that the little things start to get to you. I wasn’t really enjoying the plastic cups of water – only filled to halfway, you spilled half of that when grabbing it from the aid station volunteer, and then had only a wee splash to try and get in your mouth, most of which just ended up being flung uncoordinatedly into your face/up your nose. I reckoned only one sixteenth of a cup was getting into my system each time. The injustice of it all!

By the time I’d snapped out of that sort of ridiculous whiney thinking, I’d stopped looking at my splits altogether (I could sense it was not good news). I was definitely in plan D territory. What was plan D again? Oh dear….. OK then, I’ll get to 37km and it’s only 5k to go, I’ll check my time and see what needs done for a sub-2.45 and I’ll just totally tank it – no problem. I saw Nina again at 36km and another seamless handover was completed. I struggled to get the gel open (do the arrows mean ‘start from this side’ or ‘tear in this direction’!?) only to get the first bit in and spit it straight back out again. It had curdled, or separated, or something. Never fear, I had an emergency one in my pocket so made do with that.

I never saw the 37km marker, so thought I’d just make do with a 4km sprint finish from the 38km marker, which nearly worked, but alas it was too little too late. Plan C was gone. Through the iconic Brandenburg Gate and into the Tiergarten for the last 100m or so to execute plan D – overtake as many people as possible before the finish!

We met up with fellow Bella Allan McDermid after the race, who had bagged a PB and had been working pretty hard (some serious salt rings going on there!). Along with some of Allan’s pals and some Bella Harriers (Cris Walsh, Claire McAteer, Ronnie Mennie and Laura Ritchie) we all headed out for some well-earned burgers and a skin full of beer. Everyone was pretty pleased with their races, so a great night was had by all.

Bruce Carse 2:45:20
Allan Mcdermid 3:35:02
Louise Gray 4:28:20

A brilliant race on a great course, and one of the best cities in the world for a party afterwards. Entries for next year are probably opening soon, so definitely a race for you all to consider.