I’m back from Germany, recovering from the jet lag, and ready to share my Berlin Marathon experience with you all!
When I was preparing for this race, I did a lot of googling for “Berlin Marathon tips” or “Berlin Marathon reviews.” I ended up reading a lot of other bloggers recaps from previous year’s races. And I ate those recaps up! Seriously, I found them very valuable in my preparation, and I appreciated that they were out there for me to peruse. So I want to keep the cycle of information going. I want to provide other future Berlin Marathoners with any and all information that could possibly help them (maybe you?) prepare! With that said, this is a long post. It’s very factual with a lot of detail, and it’s probably the most useful if you are actually considering checking the Berlin Marathon (one of the World Majors) off your marathon-to-do list.
I also recognize that there is some negative feedback in my recap, but I want you to know that I still really enjoyed my overall Berlin marathon experience.
Traveling for an International Marathon/Dealing with Jet Lag:
However, for whatever reason, the second night – i.e. the night before the marathon- was terrible for both of us, and I don’t think it was nerves. We went to bed on Saturday again around 10 pm, but we were both awake until nearly 3 am….just lying there stressing about how we couldn’t get to sleep! Insomnia has never been an issue for me, even the night before a marathon, so it had to have been the jet lag. Fortunately, Berlin had a 8:45 am start, and our alarm wasn’t set to go off until 6 am, so we did manage 3-4 hours of sleep this night, but it was definitely the worst night in terms of jet lag messing with our bodies. I’m no expert on this, but I would suggest perhaps giving yourself one extra day on the front side of your international marathon trip in order to adjust a bit more to the time difference.
Potzdamer Platz is a modern little square that is extremely convenient for the marathon. It wasn’t the most charming area, nor was it centrally located for other tourist attractions. Yet in terms of the marathon, it couldn’t have been better. The Berlin marathon course is a large loop, starting and finishing around the Tiergarten (i.e. the Central Park of Berlin) and the Brandenburg Gate, and Potzdamer Platz (and the Mandala Hotel) is very close to the start line.
Though the Berlin public transportation is really easy, we were still happy to not have to even bother with it for the marathon. We were able to walk the 1/2 mile from our hotel to the start line very easily, and then back home again after the finish. I would highly recommend the Mandala Hotel if you are running the Berlin marathon. The rooms were extremely spacious, especially by European standards. We also took advantage of the ONO Spa within the hotel, both getting lovely massages after the race. Our room had a separate little living room area, a large bathroom, a TV that flipped between facing the living room and the bedroom, a little kitchen area, and even a huge separate closet room for our luggage. It wasn’t super cheap, but for a marathon trip, you end up spending a little more time in your room in the days leading up to the race, so you might as well spend up and make it a nicer room.