Friday, April 15, 2016

Airport Night Run

On Saturday, I ran the Airport Night Run here in Berlin. There's a new airport in Berlin that's under construction, which is set to replace the two current airports, Tegel (TXL), built during the Cold War era and Schönefeld (SXF), built during the Second World War. This new airport, Berlin-Brandenburg (BER) was originally set to open in 2010, though now the estimate is late 2019, so as you can imagine, it has been causing a lot of controversies and concern from its citizens.
Anyway, in 2006, the Berlin Airports company decided to organize a race at the construction site to showcase the progress of the airport. Eventually, the company Berlin Läuft, or "Berlin Runs," who organizes quite a few runs throughout the year, took over the project and this year marks the 10th annual Airport Night Run. And what an event it was!
When I heard of this event, I decided it would be of hell of a good time. I love airports (I know, I'm super weird), and well, we all know I love running, so the two combined? Irresistible. At first, I was a little hesitant to register, seeing as it was only 6 days after the Berlin Half Marathon, but you only live once right? So I registered and let me tell you, it is by far, the best race I've ever done! It is much smaller than the Berlin Half, with just over 6,000 runners (compared to 30,000 for the Berlin Half), but definitely just as fun!

I made my way to the Schönefeld Airport, which is basically next door to BER and squeezed in a shuttle with a million other runners (Seriously, it was like a clown car. We could barely breathe, it was so packed!) and ten minutes later, we arrived at the airport, where the party started. We were in a courtyard at the airport's front doors, with a stage, beer tents, and a ton of runners dressed in their best neon colours.

I have been suffering from shin splints lately, and decided to try some KT Tape to see if it would make a difference, as it really hindered my performance the week before. I got myself all taped up (according to the official instructions, of course), put on my timing chip, warmed up and made my way to the start line. The gun went off, and so did we! We watched the sun set in front of us as we ran directly on the runway, where soon enough, planes will be taking off and landing. As the darkness settled in, the runway lights came on to give us a pretty spectacular run. One I'm sure to never forget.

The KT Tape, by the way, worked incredibly well. No pain at all!

As I ran, I noticed a man who was dressed in a suit that looked like those muscle leggings. Except it was an entire suit! We were running side by side, at the exact same pace, which by my standard was extremely fast (if I had kept it up, I could have run a sub-2 hour half marathon), and by the time we got to the first water station, around the 6km mark, we ran right past and he asked if I wanted water, and I said that I was fine, so we kept on running, and we got to talking. We kept on running together and we promised we would meet up at the finish line for a beer if we lost track of each other. I told him I would try to keep up and he said he would try to stay with me, so we kept on running together.
I owe him the entire race. Without him, I would not have been able to run as well as I did. He encouraged me the entire time, kept me going, made sure I was still behind him, and even when I took a walking break near the end, he waved me on, told me to keep going. He could have easily kept running and done a sub-2 hour, but he stayed with me and pushed me hard enough that I managed to run my new personal best!!! I sprinted the last 500 meters, faster than I've ever sprinted, even though I couldn't feel my legs anymore.


I ran my new personal best of 2:07:23! It's nine seconds faster than the WPS half from last year! Nine seconds! Considering I ran 2:20 merely six days beforehand, you can imagine how proud and excited I am of this new record.

At the end, we celebrated with a nice cold beer while I enjoyed the runner's high and watched the winners' ceremony, something I've never gotten to experience before. All in all, it was a really great run; perfect weather, beautiful sunset, awesome course and a friendly, relaxed and yet still competitive atmosphere.

**Roland- Vielen vielen Dank! Ich hätte es nicht ohne dich machen können.


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  2. Congrats! My doctor advised me against running though so I can't join events like this. Looks like fun though.

    1. That's what I don't go to the doctor ;) such kill joys... It was definitely a lot of fun!


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