We came, we saw, we didn’t quite “Own” it, but we had a great time all the same!
It’s fair to say, we’ve been pretty excited about Nike’s women only running event for a while, and although it was disappointing to discover the route would follow the same paths most of our training runs take, let’s face it, half the fun of running is finding new routes, terrain and scenery, it was still exciting to enter the event village at the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark on Friday night.
The warm-up dragged on a bit. Supposed to start at 20:30hrs, but finally got underway at 20:55, by which time, the sun was setting and the chills kicking in. Still, Nike recovered it by turning up the stereo and got us moving to some seriously good tunes, then we were off. The route took us through Mauerpark, where crowds had gathered to cheer us on,then under our first bridge and a tingle of excitement to see it stage-lit in pinks and purples. A couple of bridges to climb, then a downhill and under the steels of Bornholmer Strasse bridge where Kiss FM had kindly staged a make-shift nightclub complete with disco balls and loud tunes. It soon became clear how motivating the music could be, and it’s certain most runners passed through with a smile on their face.
The route continued north through the beautiful, quiet residential streets of Pankow, where neighbours hung from balconies cheering us on, and kids waved by the roadside, staying up late to take in this crazy spectacle of thousands of female runners dressed in blue.
At km 4, the route double-backed in itself, giving us a 2nd chance to disco through Bornholmer Strasse, and face the hilly bridges we had already run once. Happily, hill running is one of our favourite sessions, so we’re always determined to keep the arms driving, powering our legs up and over the inclines. The crowds had really grown by this point, and it felt good to hear the friendly cheers of the Friday-night-revelers. Once back into Mauerpark, one last hill took us up to what remains of the Berlin Wall here, around the athletics stadium, through clouds of dry ice and under the finish line right where we had started.
It wasn’t a course for personal bests, there were just too many people and the route was too narrow. However, it meant we finished with fuel in the tank, ready for the post race party.
Now, sorry Nike, but the after-party did not quite meet our expectations. A DJ set in the Max Schmeling Halle was full of promises, but a volleyball-court did an excellent impression of the world’s saddest disco, and even at 10:30pm, none of those girls were going to get off the stands to be the first one to break the dancing ice. This is Berlin, and maybe they did dance later on and well into the night, who knows. But, it wasn’t just the dance floor that gave us the jitters. The food counters in the sports hall were so bad, it was embarrassing. When society is becoming more overweight, with people becoming less and less physically active, what hope is there when the food outlets in a sports venue only offer junk food. We saw hotdogs, sweet and salted popcorn, currywurst, artificially coloured iced drinks, and racks and racks of sugary snacks. Guys, we’ve just run 10kms, we are expecting some nutritional value in our refueling package. Sorry, but we are off to the nearest bar to toast our efforts over a glass of bubbly (or two).
Please bring the run back to Ploetzensee. Last year’s event was so pretty. Not only did the route stay mostly on trails, through a really pretty park, the event village nestled in the trees and the after party at the Strandbad were a perfect way to end the night.