Over 40,000 runners take part in the Berlin Marathon every year.
After the cancellation last year due to corona, it was finally possible to run through the German capital again on September 26, 2021.
Berlin Marathon with top star Kenenisa Bekele
With marathon participation numbers of over 40,000 athletes, the Berlin Marathon is not only one of the top 5 marathons in the world, but is also known to be one of the fastest marathons in the world. In this millennium, the men's marathon world record has already been improved several times in Berlin. Just remember the world record of Eliud Kipchoge, who was the first man in the world to run under 2:02 hours over the 42.195 kilometers in 2018 with 2:01:39 hours. A year after that, Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele stayed just two seconds over the record mark with a time of 2:01:41. While Kipchoge has no autumn marathon planned after his Olympic victory in August, Bekele could also be won over for the Berlin Marathon this year.
On Saturday at 3:30 p.m., the sporting weekend in Berlin opened with the inline skating marathon. On Sunday, starting at 8:50 a.m., the hand cyclists, the wheelchair riders and the hand bikers followed, before the starting signal was given at 9:15 a.m. for the big highlight: the Berlin Marathon 2021. This year, due to the current situation, there were about 25,000 starters over the marathon distance.
Finish at the Brandenburg Gate
In a total of four waves or eight starting blocks, the many athletes were sent into the race. Shortly after 10:30 a.m. at the latest, the last marathon runners were also allowed to start the race on the Straße des 17. After that, the course passed the Federal Chancellery, the Reichstag and the City Hall. A great sight in Berlin is also the Brandenburg Gate. But if you wanted to experience it up close, you had to make it to the end of the marathon. Because the spectacular finish line was located directly at the Brandenburg Gate.
Bekele challenged by compatriot Adole
In the men's race, defending Ethiopian champion Kenenisa Bekele was back at the start. In 2019, he narrowly failed to break the world record with 2:01:41 hours, but he did manage to set the ninth world annual best time in a row. In Berlin, therefore, between 2011 and 2019, the world annual best time was always run in the men's race. After last year's cancellation, the goal was naturally set on a continuation of this impressive series. The toughest opponent for Bekele, according to the start list, was his compatriot Guye Adola, who has a best time of 2:03:36 hours on his CV.
Time under 2:20 hours?
In the women's race, Ethiopia's Ashete Bekere was the defending champion. She won in a very strong 2:20:14 hours. Bekere was not at the start this year, but her compatriot Hiwot Gebrekidan, who arrived with a personal best of 2:19:35 hours and had her sights set on a time under 2:20 hours.
Germany's women with big ambitions
Germany's big hopes were Laura Hottenrott (PB: 2:28:02 hours), Rabea Schöneborn (PB: 2:27:03 hours) and Philipp Pflieger (PB: 2:12:15 hours). Hottenrott and Schöneborn had originally provided the limit for the Olympic Games. But since three teammates were even faster in the qualifying period, the duo was now allowed to chase times in Berlin.
Slowest race since 2009
In good conditions, but slightly too warm temperatures, the top group was on a world record course until the half marathon distance. The leading group passed the half marathon mark in 1:00:48 hours. Top favorite Kenenisa Bekele was already 12 seconds behind the leaders at this point. But after that, the pace abruptly slowed down, allowing Bekele to catch up again. After 30 kilometers the two big Ethiopian favorites, Kenenisa Bekele and Guye Adola were in the front together with the Kenyan Philemon Kacheran. After Kacheran had to let go, Bekele could not follow either. But the race was not yet decided. The hitherto unknown Kenyan Bethwel Yegon started a fantastic race to catch up. The runner with a best time of 2:08:30 hours was already one and a half minutes behind. Five kilometers before the finish, he caught up with the leader Adola.
But Adola was not impressed by this. After 40 kilometers he was again able to break away from surprise man Yegon. After 2:05:45 hours the Ethiopian Guye Adola ran in superior to the victory. It was the slowest winning time since 2009, when running legend Haile Gebrselassie celebrated his fourth and last victory at the Berlin Marathon with 2:06:08 hours. In addition, for the first time since 2010, no time under 2:05 hours succeeded at the Berlin Marathon.
Bethwel Yegon followed in second place with 2:06:14 hours, top star Kenenisa Bekele remained only third with 2:06:47 hours. In total, six athletes achieved a time under 2:10 hours.
The best Germans
Fastest non-African in 9th place was Hidekazu Hijikata of Japan with 2:11:47 hours. Refugee Haftom Welday (Eritrea), who lives in Germany, finished 13th in his marathon debut with a good 2:13:47 hours. The fastest German was Philipp Pflieger in 16th place, but his time of 2:15:01 was well above his personal best.
Victory in marathon debut
Ethiopia's Gotytom Gebreslase was the highlight of the day. She won the prize money of 20,000 euros in her marathon debut with an outstanding time of 2:20:09 hours. It was the fifth fastest marathon debut of all time. Favorite Hiwot Gebrekidan followed in second place with 2:21:23 hours.
For a long time, Gerbreslase and her compatriot Gebrekidan even had chances to beat the three-year-old course record of Gladys Cherono, which stands at 2:18:11 hours. But also the Ethiopians had to pay tribute to the high temperatures.
Rabea Schöneborn in the Top 10
Germany's best runner Rabea Schöneborn finished a strong ninth. With 2:28:49 hours she was the second best non-African in the field. Only Poland's Izabela Paszkiewicz was faster with 2:27:41 hours. Switzerland's Martina Strähl also made it into the top 10 with 2:30:37 hours.
Results Berlin Marathon 2021 - Men
Results Berlin-Marathon 2021 - Damen