Berlin post-script

Thank god it is over! Berlin was yet again a wonderful backdrop for the 35th marathon; with brilliant weather, excellent organisation, one million spectators, 60 bands and a new world record, what is not to like about an event like this?

My own race plan, or lack thereof, brilliantly thought out en route, consisted of tagging on to a fast, unsuspecting Swede, who ploughed his way through the runners ahead at breakneck pace, along with my brother. He did probably wonder why his shadows were a) multiple; b) blue, red, white, and black; and c) sweaty and huffing and puffing, but nevertheless he did not charge us for his services. At the outset, we thought we would stay somewhere in between the 3:15-3:30-hour ‘balloons’ (there are pacers running at a fixed speed, and they come with a big, orange balloon attached to them), but the Swede overtook the faster of them after a couple of minutes only.

Thinking and running like a terrier rather than a (clever) owl, I should probably have let go of the postman’s Swede’s leg a bit earlier, but at the 30-kilometre-mark I started to feel a bit like a snowman in late July. So, for lack of legs to keep up with Eeeemil, my next ‘strategy’ centred on identifying the ‘weakest’ looking runners, getting behind them, and repeating, ad nauseum, the mantra: “If s/he can do it, so can you” (R.I.P. Scatman John). And, of course, even the 70-year-old-prosthesis-wearing-fibre-androids would outpace me in a matter of minutes.

My deep-felt gratitude goes out to the guy who at 38 kilometres shouted at me: “Christian, du musst laufen!” I do not know what he was sinking about, but the remark was spot on.

In conclusion, I would not recommend anyone to follow this ‘plan.’ In fact, in most cases, I think it is a jolly good idea to invest a few seconds of thought before doing silly stuff or, um, speaking in public.

Lastly, I think Murakami’s and Stuff White People Like’s thoughts are utterly brilliant and strangely complementary takes on the same topic; Murakami describes in clear, unassuming prose why running is as much an intellectual endeavour as a physical one, whereas Stuff White People Like had me chuckling about the ridiculousness of the whole thing (the comments make it even more hilarious).

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  1. Well done, brother(s)! Congratulations with the impressive running time … (of course Swedish people run fast when they know that there’s reasonably priced draft beer at the finish line!!)

  2. Christian Toennesen

    Yes, Swedes aside, one should never underestimate the seductive powers of an Erdinger!

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