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Race previews Generali Berlin Half Marathon

15 January 2023, 11am

Fast course that also tours the sights of the German capital

Spectacular start to Berlin’s running calendar

Generali Berlin Half Marathon
Sun 2 April 2023

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The Generali Berlin Half Marathon is one of the biggest and fastest half marathons in the world. Participants from all over the world come to experience this appealing 21.0975-km sightseeing tour.

In 2022, 33,971 runners from 121 nations lined up at the start.15,000 of them were running the race for the first time – a new record, which shows that running is regaining its popularity in Germany after the pandemic years.

Last year Kenyan Alex Kibet won in a time of 58:55 minutes, missing the course record by just 13 seconds. Runners are not the only ones setting out on the half marathon course. Last year 1,042 inline skaters and 27 hand cyclists and wheelchair athletes took part in this mega event. The number of women runners is steadily increasing and has now reached a proud 40%. In the Bambini Run and KidsSkating, children can emulate their parents and put their skills to the test.

The sporty sightseeing tour through the metropolis on the river Spree has become even more attractive. In a short space of time you get to enjoy an even more impressive tour of the sights than you could manage in a dedicated tour for tourists. With the Victory Column at your feet and the Brandenburg Gate at your back, the first few metres are absolutely brilliant. At the Technical University, via Ernst-Reuter-Platz, the route goes straight ahead for four kilometres to reach the Charlottenburg Palace. Here, where the route takes a sharp left towards Kurfürstendamm, you will find the well-established samba band Alegria do Samba – a spot popular among the many spectators and fans who go there to cheer on the athletes.

Before turning onto Berlin’s famous shopping boulevard the course continues for about three kilometres with a detour past the idyllic Lietzensee lake. A short climb is followed by a few hundred metres of gentle downhill along Kantstrasse, where you can pick up speed for the rest of the journey. On Ku’Damm the beat from the live musicians increases in intensity, more and more people line the course and the excitement rises. Past the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the route goes straight across Wittenbergplatz (past the famous department store, KaDeWe) and Nollendorfplatz to Potsdamer Strasse. Shortly after Potsdamer Platz, you approach the old event centre at Alexanderplatz. The previously all-dominant television tower can be glimpsed nearby as you make your way through Berlin’s most populous district, Mitte, and past Checkpoint Charlie.

The Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin’s most beautiful square with the Schauspielhaus concert hall, the French Cathedral and the German Cathedral, is one of the most popular hot spots along the route. It also marks the point of departure for the last few kilometres. The final stretch runs along the magnificent Unter den Linden boulevard to the Brandenburg Gate. You pass through the landmark of Berlin’s division just 100 metres before the finish line. It is the ultimate emotional final sprint.

The course is flat and fast so it’s always a good event to try for a personal best. The race is also very spectator-friendly; many points can easily be reached by underground or S-Bahn or by bike.

The Generali Berlin Half Marathon has a historical background that can only be found in the German capital. In 1990 the Peace Run in the East and a half marathon in West Berlin merged, originally serving as a trial run for the Berlin Marathon in September. It was then moved to a spring date and has since grown by leaps and bounds. In 2019 there were a record 37,087 participants but in the COVID year 2020 it had to be cancelled. It is now developing positively again and another increase in participants is expected.

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