My first race and here's my bling plus assorted booty from the goody bag. The bling is a bit of a let-down because I would have liked a medal. It's a pink plastic ribbon for cancer research with the profile of a face on it attached to it is something you can put on your keyring, a rectangle with a nail file embedded. The hot pink disc is for use with shopping trolleys. So they were trying to be practical I suppose but you know, medal... A medal has something a nail file does not. Apart from that: shower gel, foot cream, small deo, thermal pads as a painkiller (menstrual pain etc), thermo cup and cell phone pouch. And you guessed it: it was a Frauenlauf - Women's race.
We ran 10k starting Strasse des 17. Juni, named to commemorate a popular uprising in East Berlin 1953 which was put down by the soviet army with tanks amidst considerable bloodshed. We ran west towards the Victory Column (Siegessäule built to commemorate some Prussian victory or other). It is a tall column with a golden Victoria standing on top and is located pretty much in the middle of the Tiergarten park which is Berlin's version of Central Park.
From there we ran south, and then through the Tiergarten park itself, passing a statue of an Amazon on horsepark, past the rose garden and out near the Brandenburg Gate near where the wall had been and then we ran back down the Str. des 17. Juni and did a second loop which was a bit different, stopping in front of the Soviet memorial which was erected to remember the 2,000 or so Russian soldiers who died in the battle for Berlin in 1945. Reading the inscriptions, the majority were only 21-23 years old which seems incredibly sad.
What I really liked were the drummers, there were 4 groups of drummers along the way and they were brilliant. I also liked the volunteers. They all seemed friendly and supportive and did a great job. In fact I feel inspired to volunteer for an upcoming race which would be a nice way to give something back to a town that has been good to us. The organisation as you'd expect from Germany really was very good.
This is my first ever race so I wasn't too sure what to expect. What I didn't like so much was being hemmed in so much as I ran. I couldn't often lengthen my stride and had to keep an eye out left and right, as people tend to zip in front of you then suddenly slow down or even stop which is a bit disconcerting and running alone seems preferable to me for those reasons. I felt held back by the crowd and couldn't run as fast as I would have liked to or would normally have done. Bit mystified as to how anyone manages a PB in these races.
On the whole it was an interesting experience. I didn't love it but I would do another race. It would have to be a challenge in some way though to feel worthwhile. Since we don't have park runs here, I was happy to know how I compare to other runners. I ran in the front third I think, time was 57:25 and I had something left in the tank but my face was on fire which was a bit embarrassing. I did feel as if I'd confirmed for myself that I am a real runner and can run with others so I felt great about that but I am conflicted about the actual running itself. I am not sure I really enjoyed and loved that part. My early morning run this morning, in the quiet and with space all around is more my thing to be honest.