The Berlin Marathon is well known as the fastest Marathon in the world. (I also ran my fastest time there in 2017). It’s little brother, the Berlin Half Marathon, is less well known. But definitely not slower at all. It is one of the fastest Half Marathons out there. The new course record of 58 minutes 42 seconds is the 4th fastest time worldwide. (as of 2018)
Travel and Accessibility
The Berlin Half Marathon has a normal sign up process, unlike the Berlin Marathon, which is a ballot. However it sells out every year.
Traveling to Berlin is easy, despite the new airport still not open. Getting to the expo and start line is also easy, as Berlin has a great network of underground, trams and buses.
The Berlin Half Marathon start and finish line area is located at Karl Marx Allee, close to Alexanderplatz. There are security checks when you enter the race area, so make sure you arrive on time. Within the race area there is a separate start line area on the north side with blocks A to F. If you have a drop bag, you can only enter from the south. However if you don’t want to drop a bag, you can enter directly into your start block from the north.
The corrals or start blocks are pretty small compared to the number of runners. But the race starts in 3 waves of 20 minute intervals. So there will be enough space once the first wave sets off.
There were a only a lot of porta potties in and outside the race area.
Berlin Half Marathon Course
The Berlin Half Marathon course is a flat and circular. It first heads west through the Brandenburg Gate and Tiergarten park, and makes a south turn at Charlottenburg Palace. It then turns back east where it finishes – after a few turns – back where it started. The course is absolutely flat except for a few bridges with a slight incline.
There are a few water stops along the course as well as energy drinks and one gel station. Unfortunately I did not see a lot of porta potties along the course.
Once you have finished the race you first get your medal. Then you can grab a plastic foil to keep you warm, while you refuel with water and sports drinks, and of course non alcoholic beer. After the immediate finish line area you enter into the bigger race area, where also friends and family are allowed. There are a lot of stalls with food and drinks where they can wait for you and enjoy the race atmosphere.
The Berlin Half Marathon is already like a sightseeing run across the city. You start at Alexanderplatz close to the famous TV Tower, run through the Brandenburg Gate, past the Reichstag and Victory Column. You can even see Schloss Charlottenburg and of course you cross the famous Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie.
Nevertheless I recommend that you also spend some time doing proper sightseeing. I have compiled some tips at the end of my review of Berlin Marathon. You can find it here.