From: Saturday, September 29 2007, 3:00 am
to: Sunday, September 30 2007, 10:00 am
The Berlin Marathon has established itself as one of the most popular in the world and the route passes many of the famous sights of this majestic city.
The 35,000 athletes facing the gruelling 26-mile (42km) course are at least compensated for their blistered feet with a cultural journey taking in the Victory Column, Unter den Linden, the Humboldt University, the State Opera, the New Guardhouse, Berlin Cathedral, the Castle Bridge, the former Palace of the Republic, the Marienkirche, the Television Tower, Sch├?┬Âneberg Town Hall with the Liberty Bell, Schlossstrasse in Steglitz, the Botanical Garden and Potsdamer Platz, with the finish line after the Brandenburg Gate.
The marathon has grown from humble origins. Originally known as the "Berliner Volksmarathon", its first running in 1974 attracted a field of only 286. Only in 1981, with the success of other big city marathons, did the organisers realise the attraction of running the race through the city centre.
Perhaps the highlight of the race's history came in 1990 with the "Reunification Marathon". Attracting 25,000 runners, for the first time the race made its way through both West and East Berlin. Ever since then it has come to symbolise a city aiming to heal the painful divisions of the past.