Jim's report on the Munich Marathon

Jim Gannon recently ran in the Munich Marathon and finished in 3:58:30, a pb by 52 mins 22 secs.
 This is Jim's report

The Munich Marathon attracted 10,000 runners this year - a substantial increase on last year’s entry - and with friends living in the city and a dream of doing a sub-4,
I became the 10,001st.

 The race start was in the impressive Olympic stadium built for the 1972 Olympic games and still boasting its original gaudy lime green seating. The starting pens for the runners were inadequate to hold the large number of participants with some entrants resorting to climbing the 7 foot high perimeter fencing to get into the right starting position. With the countdown to the start into the last minute an avalanche of excess running clothing cascaded over the fencing and onto the grass verges for retrieving by their owners at the end of the race.

The course itself was changed this year to remain within the confines of the city and meandered through the Bavarian capital via the open square of Odeonsplatz passing the arches of the neoclassical Feldherrnhalle, where Hitler marched with his followers, and past the Glockenspiel into the bohemian neighbourhood of Schwabing.

Now going uphill, the course swung past the Deutsche Museum at kilometre 14 and headed northwards. For the runner to appreciate the crisp autumnal morning, kilometres 27 to 37 ran through the 18th century Englischer Garten, the largest public park in Europe, hugging the city’s River Isar.

Throughout the run the marker posts being in kilometres rather than miles made split timing difficult and mentally multiplying by 0.625 gets tiresome even for a maths tutor! I made a mental note in future to map out training runs in kilometres. The people of Munich were loud in their support with the deafening rattle of spoons on saucepans, whistles and cowbells throughout the wide tree lined streets.

With the course now heading back to the stadium for the finish, the route became littered with the walking wounded limping along the last few miles. Entry to the stadium itself was through a tunnel within which flashing disco lights and dry ice made for a scene from a 70’s Top Of The Pops episode. All that remained was a lap of the track. With the clock lurching dangerously close to 4 hours, Steve’s Friday night track sessions came into their own for the final sprint.

Travelling overseas may not immediately come to mind when choosing a marathon venue but think about giving it a go! With budget airlines, guaranteed on-line entry now available and a 26 mile sightseeing tour thrown in – it makes for an unforgettable weekend city break.

Jim Gannon