Marathon Berlin2023

Berlin celebrates its 49th Marathon in September 2023. The first Berlin Marathon in 1974 had less than 300 participants. To separate this from Olympic games, these runs were coined “Volks-marathon” at the time. 5 events had already taken place in New York when these annual events started to catch on in Berlin. In 2023 there are close to 50.000 participants mostly drawn from a lottery of about 500.000 entries. So, you can call yourself one of the lucky few, if you manage to get a place. The event is a drain, but it creates a fantastic hype not only for the runners. The many cheers and bands along the running track transform the inner city into a huge party zone. The Berlin marathon is known around the world for its fast track. In 2023 Berlin is proud to be the city where both the women and men’s world record are held currently at the same time. This is quite an achievement.
Personally, I enjoy more the courage, stamina and will power all the participants gear up to. Months, if not years of preparation find their climax in getting to the starting line in the “Tiergarten”, just where you had (have) the “Love Parades” some weeks before. The finishing line is 300 meters away, once you have passed the “Bandenburger Tor”. From a public health perspective, we applaud the encouragement such events give to all those that have an active life style and to some to get started on such a trajectory. The media coverage is enormous and with all sponsorships, equipment, hotels, meals and travelling involved such events have become big business, too. No such event and going to health limits is without risk. This is, of course, also the case in Berlin. The emotions run high for almost all, except for a few, who go too far beyond their limits.
The medical assessments of exhaustive endurance sports are an ongoing research issue. A recent literature review reveals that there are quite substantial numbers of previous smokers or persons with previously unhealthy life styles participating in popular marathons. Running, probably, has been part of overcoming bad habits of the past. It is therefore, not surprising to find that some of the participants are at a risk of wanting to run too much or too fast for their current state of health. The hypnotising effect of music and stimulation from being part of a huge crowd, contribute to the effect to go beyond limits. Cardiovascular events or brain lesions are, therefore, part of the ex-post risks of participants who have had specific medical check-ups. Know your limits, train them wisely, but respect that limits exist. This seems to be a reasonable summary based on sports medical research. Berlin 42km finishing line2023

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