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MY JOURNEY – marathon fever at the roadside

The BMW BERLIN MARATHON is clearly highlighted in red on the calendar of Jürgen Tschötschel and his wife. “For us, this is one of the highlights of the year.” The two retirees get up at the same time as the runners and start to prepare. “When the starting shot is fired at 8:45 am, we turn on our TV so we can watch the race live and see how fast the first runners take off.” One hour later, the couple then gets their jackets on and heads down to the street. From their neighbourhood in Charlottenburg, they set out toward the course and finish line. “We always plan on reaching the finish line about 15 minutes before the first runners arrive so we can be there to cheer them on to victory,” Jürgen Tschötschel reports.  “That is always a remarkable feeling to watch the pros cross the finish after the 42 kilometres. The atmosphere at the Brandenburg Gate is simply amazing.” In good spirits and donning noisemakers, they then slowly make their way back down along the course to greet the rest of the runners as they pass by. For the past eight years, the 62-year-old pair has been using the day of the marathon for a Sunday excursion. “We always walk about 14 kilometres on marathon day, enjoying some coffee along the way and watching all the colourful excitement. In his younger days, Jürgen Tschötschel also used to run. While he did not run the 42 kilometres, he did participate regularly in 10K races.  “That makes it easier for me to understand what is going on in their heads as the runners start dragging at the end of the race. We do our best to be especially supportive on the part of the course between Fehrbelliner Platz at kilometre 32 and Potsdamer Platz at kilometre 38. I really admire the athletes that make it that far.” In the eight years that Jürgen Tschötschel and his wife have been active spectators at the BMW BERLIN MARATHON, he has seen his share of runners collapse as they hit the final kilometres. “If you have done a lot of sports yourself, that really affects you. You notice that the runners have a lot of kilometres in their legs and that attempting this distance is no piece of cake.”

Jürgen Tschötschel and his wife Marianne stay out until the last runner has passed them and the broom wagon comes. Afterwards they take the subway home. “We love these events. For us the marathon is part of Berlin, what makes the city what it is. That is why we will be there again next time.”

 

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