Another marathon completed. Another chunky medal hung on the wall. Another fundraising target hit. Another PB set. These are the bullet points, that can't possibly begin to relay the breathtaking and rewarding experience, that is the Berlin Marathon. 45,000 runners, united by a common passion for tearing up 42.2km of tarmac to the sound of a cheering crowd. One of those runners was our own, Sanzhar and the task he had set himself was to run a sub-4 hour marathon.
The race day began with a cool breeze and a promise of a drizzle, approximately 3 hours into the marathon. At 9:50 am, Sanzhar has crossed the start line, leaving the Brandenburg gate behind and setting out on the course that has seen 11 marathon world records set. He maintained a solid pace and crossed the half-way mark (21km) in 1:58:00, putting him on target for a 3:56:00 finish. Sanzhar was on course for a great finishing time, alongside thousands of other runners, appreciating the flat profile of the race. However, the weather had other plans and within minutes, the light refreshing, drizzle turned into torrential rain, soaking the runners, making their trainers and clothes weigh a perceptible ton and dampening moods.
Our runner persevered but was hit with a muscle cramp in his right quadriceps, around the 32km mark, putting the sub-4 hour finish out of reach. However, after 1km at a walking pace, Sanzhar managed to stretch off his legs and push on. As he ran under the Brandenburg gate, that he had last seen 42km ago, he had just 200m to go. He crossed the finish line in the time of 4:19:25, a full 26 minutes faster than his London Marathon effort, that he had run last April in the scorching heat of the UK's capital. That moment of elation is perfectly depicted in the photo below.
More important than the PB and the race bling, was the fundraising target of £1,000, that we have not only reached but exceeded by 200%. The £3,000, that we have raised with the help of our friends and supporters, will go to our partner charity - Spinal Research. They are the UK’s leading charity funding medical research around the world to develop effective treatments for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury. This makes the effort feel worthwhile.
With an ambition to run all of the World Marathon Majors, Sanzhar has his eyes fixed on the New York City Marathon, next November. With over 1 year to go and several minor-distance races planned, we will be aiming even higher with our fundraising goals and Sanzhar will, no doubt, be looking to break the illusive 4h mark.
Thank you to all of our loyal supporters as well as new contributors, that have helped us raise this wonderful sum. With your help, we hope to continue supporting meaningful causes and changing lives. Stay tuned, for our next project!