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Rushing into the World's Fastest Track: Berlin Marathon Setting a New World Record & HK Record

Known as the fastest track in the world, the Berlin Marathon, one of the six world major marathons, was held last Sunday on 24 September. It attracted top runners from all around the world, with a total of more than 45,000 participants. The Berlin Marathon is dubbed the "fastest track on Earth" because of its extremely flat route – the 42.195 km track has a total ascent of only about 37 metres. There are no 180-degree sharp turns, making it ideal for achieving the best times, which is why both the men's and women's marathon world records were set here. In this edition of the featured story of "THE HARBOUR", we explore this major event in the marathon world.


The Marathon Begins with the EXPO


Unlike other marathon EXPOs usually held in city exhibition halls, the Berlin Marathon’s EXPO has been held for many years at Tempelhof Airport in the city centre. Participants pass through the old airport runway, where planes are still parked, to enter the venue and collect their bibs. Inside the venue, there are not only large sponsors participating, but also many small stalls and food stands set up on the semi-open runway. And of course, there’s Germany's most famous beer and hot dogs. The atmosphere is lively as every participant is a marathon enthusiast, easily finding common topics to discuss.


Tempelhof Airport also has significant historical value. During the Cold War in 1948-49, it played a crucial role in supplying essential goods to West Berlin during the Soviet blockade and is seen as a symbol of freedom and resilience. In 2008, the city government decided to cease its operation and use it as a venue for various events and exhibitions, including hosting the annual Berlin Marathon EXPO.


Berlin Marathon: A Track Through History


The Berlin Marathon’s track crosses through the city's most historically and culturally significant landmarks, representing Berlin's history from World War II to the Cold War. The marathon starts in Tiergarten, Berlin’s "city lung", which used to be the hunting ground of Brandenburg and turned into a public park in the eighteenth century. Runners then pass landmarks such as the Reichstag Building, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, Potsdam Square, and finally, burst through the Brandenburg Gate, arriving at the finish arch after about 200m. The Brandenburg Gate, built in the eighteenth century, was part of the Berlin Wall separating East and West Berlin during the Cold War. When the Wall fell in 1989, people from both sides gathered at the Gate to celebrate reunification, making it a symbol of peace and unity. Running through this historically significant gate after 40 km adds a special emotional and ceremonial touch, making the completion of the Berlin Marathon particularly meaningful.


The World's Fastest Men and Women


Living up to its reputation as the fastest track, this year's Berlin Marathon attracted top talents, including Elucid Kipchoge from Kenya, the only person to complete a full marathon in under 2 hours (unofficially). Kipchoge made history by winning the Berlin Marathon for the fifth time, but unfortunately, he didn't break his own world record set in Berlin in 2022 (2:01:09). On the women's side, Tigist Assefa from Ethiopia broke a new world record with a time of 2:11:53, significantly ahead of the old record by over 2:11. Interestingly, it was her first time wearing the Adios Pro Evo 1 developed by Adidas, touted as the world's lightest running shoes at only 138 grams (Male US 9), made with new biotechnology and removing all unnecessary parts, even insoles. It’s priced at 500 US dollars, with only over five hundred pairs produced worldwide, currently only available for Adidas-sponsored athletes. It remains to be seen whether this world record will create another craze for Adidas.


Hong Kong runner Wong Wan Chun also performed well in the Berlin Marathon, setting a new Hong Kong marathon record with a time of 2:16:22. This proves that the title of the world's fastest track is not an empty boast.


42.195 km Starts at Your Feet


Apart from the Berlin and London Marathons, the most prestigious of the six major marathons located in the European continent, there are also many distinctive marathon events in the UK and mainland Europe, which can be reached within one to two hours by plane. The distance of 42.195 km is not far, it starts at your feet. Harbour Athletic Club and Harbour Sports Club have also started offering regular long-distance running training and track training to help everyone achieve their personal goals.


For registration details, please click here.

For the Individualised 1:1 Online Coaching Program, click here.


跑進地表最快賽道:柏林馬拉松

剛刷新全新世界紀錄及香港紀錄


柏林馬拉松,被譽為全球六大馬拉松之一,今年賽事吸引了來自世界各地最頂尖的跑手參加,總計超過 45,000 名參賽者。有「地表最快賽道」之稱的柏林馬拉松以平坦賽道聞名,42.195公里的賽道環繞整個柏林市,總攀升只有約 37米、全程沒有180度的「髮夾彎」,加上九月德國天氣適宜,種種因素都有利跑出佳績,故現時男女子馬拉松世界紀錄均在柏林馬誕生。今期《THE HARBOUR》的專題故事,將帶大家走訪這場馬拉松界盛事。


馬拉松由 EXPO 開始


大多數馬拉松EXPO都會在城市博覽館舉辦,而柏林馬的 EXPO 多年來卻選擇在市中心的柏林-滕珀爾霍夫機場(Flughafen Berlin-Tempelhof)舉辦。參加者會經過舊機場仍停泊著飛機的跑道走入場區領取號碼布,會場內除可買到紀念品外,還有許多小攤檔及飲食攤位設置在半露天跑道上,當然少不了德國最出名的啤酒及熱狗。在場的都是馬拉松發燒友,很容易便找到共同話題,氣氛十分熱烈。


柏林-滕珀爾霍夫機場已停止營運,背後卻極具歷史意義。1948~49 年冷戰時期,蘇聯封鎖所有前往西柏林的陸路及水路交通,這座機場便成為為西柏林人供應必需品的重要角色,因此又被視為自由與韌性的象徵。直至 2008 年市政府決定停運,這個機場成為了舉辦各種活動和展覽的地點。


跑過歷史的柏林賽道


柏林馬拉松的賽道穿越了整個城市最具歷史及文化價值的地標,完成 42.195km 的馬拉松距離,彷彿走過了柏林自二戰到冷戰的歷史。馬拉松在柏林市內最大的公園 Tiergarten 開始,這不僅是柏林市的「市肺」,亦曾經是勃蘭登堡的狩獵地,直到十八世紀時才變成了公共公園。其後跑手會途經國會大廈(Reichstagsgebäude)、柏林大教堂(Berliner Dom)、博物館島(Museumsinsel Berlin)、波茨坦廣場(Potsdamer Platz),最後穿過布蘭登堡門(Brandenburger Tor)等地標抵達馬拉松的終點拱門。


提到德國國會大廈,相信最多人會想起在「瞬間看地球」看到的那個巨型玻璃圓頂。其實,這座柏林地標建築過去曾飽歷滄桑,先在1933 年被大火嚴重焚毁,到二戰時再遭破壞,其後才以玻璃圓頂修復,自1999 年起成為今日的德國國會大廈。而建於十八世紀的布蘭登堡門,更是冷戰時期分隔東西柏林的柏林圍牆的一部份,於1989年柏林圍牆被推倒時,東西柏林的人民聚集於布蘭登堡門慶祝重聚,至此布蘭登堡門便成為和平與團結的象徵。跑手穿過這道極具歷史意義的拱門,別有一番感動和儀式感,令柏林馬拉松的完成者別具另一番意義。


柏林馬見證男女子世界紀錄誕生


作為地表最快賽道,今年的柏林馬拉松同樣高手如雲,當中包括唯一曾以 2 小時以下跑畢全馬,來自肯亞的 Eliud Kipchoge。Kipchoge不負眾望,歷史性地第五度於柏林馬拉松封王,惜未能再次打破自己於去年柏林馬拉松創下的2:01:09世界紀錄。女子方面更令人驚喜,來自埃塞俄比亞的 Tigst Assefa 以 2:11:53的時間,將女子馬拉松世界紀錄一口氣大幅推前 2分11秒之多,有趣的是她首次穿著由 adidas 研發的 Adios Pro Evo 1。


據Adidas指,Adios Pro Evo 1是目前全球最輕的跑鞋,採用全新生物科技製成,刪去所有不必要的配件,甚至沒有鞋墊,重量只有138克(Male US 9.0)。廠方更表明這款跑鞋只能承受一次練習適應及一次全馬距離便要報銷,但售價高達 500 美元,全球只製造了五百多對,現時僅供旗下運動員穿著。不知這次Assefa大破世界紀錄,會否為 adidas 帶來另一次熱潮。

至於香港跑手在今屆柏林馬亦有好成績,黃尹雋以 2:16:22 的個人時間,再次改寫他於今年三月在漢堡創下的香港全馬紀錄。 42.195公里始於足下


除了柏林馬及倫敦馬這兩個位於歐洲大陸最享負盛名的六大馬拉松外,在英國本土及一至兩小時飛機可到達的歐洲大陸,亦有很多具有特色的馬拉松賽事可供參加。馬拉松 42.195km 的距離並非很遙遠,始於足下。Harbour Athletic Club 與 Harbour Sports Club 亦分別於倫敦及雷丁提供恆常的長跑訓練及田徑場上的訓練課,以供大家完成自己各自的目標。


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文:n.t.


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Image: BMW Berlin Marathon official website

Image: BMW Berlin Marathon official website

Image: adidasrunning and berlinmarathon's Instagram


2023寶馬柏林馬拉松(BMW Berlin Marathon 2023)

日期:2023年9月24日

男子冠軍:Eliud Kipchoge(2:02:42)

女子冠軍:Tigst Assefa(2:11:53)


2024寶馬柏林馬拉松已開放報名

Registration for BMW Berlin Marathon 2024 is open now

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