Berlin Half Marathon promotes 2018 European Athletics Championships
No less than 34,004 runners of all ages and abilities took to the streets of the German capital for the 37th edition of the Berlin Half Marathon in early April, and each one of them was acting as an ambassador for next year’s European Athletics Championships in the same city.
Each runner had on their race bib the colourful and eye-catching logo of next year’s event, the most important athletics competition in Europe in 2018.
The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships are part of the inaugural multi-sport 2018 European Championships – with Glasgow being the host city for the six other sports – and will be staged from 7-12 August next year.
The promotion involving Germany’s biggest half marathon provided a big boost to the visibility and profile of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships, not just locally and nationally but also internationally.
More than a third of the runners came from in and around Berlin with another third from the elsewhere in Germany but no less than 106 different nationalities stood on the start line on Karl-Marx-Allee, right by the famous Alexanderplatz.
The men’s and women’s races were won by Kenya’s Gilbert Masai and Joan Melly in 59:57 and 68:45 respectively but Europe was very strongly represented further down the field with 3256 Danish runners, 916 Dutch, 890 British, 648 Italians and 638 Poles among the cosmopolitan list of entries.
Getting big cheers along the route which traversed both the east and western halves of Berlin, the leading European finisher was German middle-distance international Homiyu Tesfaye in a personal best of 62:58.
Tesfaye will drop back down distance after his rare excursion on the roads and is aiming for a triumphant return to Berlin in front of his home crowd in the summer of 2018 after making the last two European Athletics Championships 1500m finals but missing out on the podium.
The leading European woman was the Netherlands’ Elizeba Cherono, who was third in 70:43, and who also has ambitions of getting among the medals on the track at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.
The European Athletics Championships will be held in Berlin’s historic and iconic Olympic stadium as well as on the streets of the city – the race walking and marathon races – for the first time and a total 47 events will be contested over the six days of competition.
Approximately 1600 athletes from the 51 European Athletics Member Federations will take part.
Further information about the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships, including schedules and tickets, can be found at www.berlin2018.info