Well despite all the apprehensive buildup the Berlin Marathon was absolutely amazing. My training since the last race hadn’t really gone to plan but from the moment the gun went off I knew it was going to be a good run. Despite it being a very wet weekend the temperature was fine and the light rain throughout the run meant I could miss the occasional water station as I got carried along with the flow of runners. The crowd support was fantastic and I don’t think there was a single part of the whole 26.2 mile route that didn’t have spectators cheering or live bands playing! The organisation was first rate too – the start and finish of the race are coincidental making the whole process of dropping off and picking up your stuff very easy. As for the finish line, you can’t get a more spectacular sight than the Brandenburg Gate as you turn the final corner at 41km and the last km is laid out in a straight line in front of you with the grandstand crowds either side as you watch yourself crossing the line on the giant video screens.
I crossed the line in 4h 01m which, while not a PB, was considerably better than I expected and has certainly boosted my confidence for the remaining marathons I have yet to do this year. That makes it nine so far but number ten is only two weeks away now so I can’t afford to rest for too long!
Aside from the marathon itself though, this was not what you would call a smooth trip! Ok, it was partly my own fault for getting the date wrong but the first problem came from British Airways, with whom I’d booked the original trip. Even though I called them with a month to go they were unable to change my accommodation and wanted £400 (yes £400) to change the date of the return flight by a day. The original trip only cost £200 in total! My only option was to cancel and rebook but, get this, they then charged me £120 (60% of the original cost) for the cancellation as well. They are definitely my last choice of airline from now on… Ryanair came to the rescue anyway and I was able to book a return flight for £145. I’m still waiting for my 40% refund from British Airways so they did quite well out of me overall. The seat I gave up was selling for almost £600 each way on the day I cancelled…
The second problem came from laterooms.com with whom I booked my hotel. I duly arrived with my printed confirmation and was told by the hotel that they had no such booking and were full – just what you need when you’ve arrived in a strange city on one of the busiest weekends of the year!! Anyway, the hotel (a small family run one) were very helpful and sorted me out with another hotel at the last minute which turned out to be a bit closer to the start line so not a total disaster. So, thanks for nothing laterooms.com and for anyone thinking of using them I suggest you double check with the hotel after your “confirmation”.