The Berlin Marathon 2010

This year was a special marathon in Berlin. We've always enjoyed going out and cheering people on (and wondering what drives all these thousands of people to run 42.195 kilometers or so in just a few hours). A friend used to run and we'd try and spot him.

But this year my good friend from Iceland is over with her running group - and she is running her first marathon the far side of 50. Crazy. Anyway, she came Thursday and we had a great time in the evening and on Friday. Yack-yack-yack all the time, like as if we hadn't seen each other for a few years (only on Facebook).

We dropped by to pick up her number at the Templehof airport. My glory, they have it set up so you have to walk past ALL of the stands of companies flogging shoes, clothes, special food, more marathons, and assorted stuff. The inner sanctum was only permitted for registered runners, so I waited outside. I killed time playing the assorted contests and won a nice travel coffee mug ;)

After getting the number and wolfing down some delicious garlic bread with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese we headed out to my school so I could show her where I work. We ended up at the cafe next to our school, directly on the Spree River. It was a wonderful, warm, late summer's day.

Saturday we organized a pasta party for her and her husband and her good friend who is running with her with her husband. We had 5 different kinds of pasta, 2 sauces and 3 pestos. It was delicious, but of course, the runners will run those calories off, I won't.

Their hotel, while nice, and glad of all the customers coming because of the marathon, was not willing to offer breakfast for the runners at 6 am. So they bought some toast and breakfast stuff and I loaned them my toaster.

It started to rain Saturday evening, and the rain continued all through Sunday. What a horrible weather to run in! The TV station that had paid lots of money for the rights to send the helicopter pictures was in panic, as the helicopters could not start, so they were scrambling to get cameras on the ground somewhere. The quality was not very good.

We stood out in the pouring rain, and managed to pick her out of the crowd, giving some rousing Icelandic cheers (Áfram, stelpa!) in the few seconds it took for her to jog past. She finished in a good time (4:30), I don't think I could have biked it in much less.

I joined to Icelanders for dinner. I had suggested a Berliner Restaurant, Zur Gerichtslaube, and we had reserved a table for 20. They had a separate room upstairs, the Ratsherrenstube, just for the group. The runners had their medals on, and enjoyed good German beer and wine and pork knuckles and pork roasts and sauerkraut and rotkraut and dumplings and fried potatoes ....... I opted for a cheese-stuffed fried pear that was actually quite good. 

They described the pain, that horrible last kilometer, but also how great it was that so many people were on the sidelines cheering them on. They see Berlin as a very sympathetic city, and apparently the businesses in town do a very good business with the runners, so it 's a win-win situation.

I'm still not planning on running myself. Handball is quite enough, thank you!

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