Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free

Conquer the Fastest Course: Unraveling the Berlin Marathon’s Flattest Secrets

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

When it comes to marathon running, the choice of course can have a significant impact on your performance. One of the most sought-after marathon courses in the world is the Berlin Marathon. However, before lacing up your running shoes, a crucial question arises – is the Berlin Marathon flat? In this comprehensive guide, we will unveil the hidden depths behind Berlin’s reputation as a flat and fast marathon course.

The Berlin Marathon: A Dream Race for Marathon Enthusiasts

The Berlin Marathon, held annually in the capital city of Germany, is undoubtedly a bucket-list event for avid runners. It claims a prestigious position as one of the six World Marathon Majors, alongside races in Tokyo, Boston, London, Chicago, and New York City. Throughout its illustrious history, the race has become renowned for its impressive organization, enthusiastic crowd support, and fervent atmosphere. Yet, it is the reputation of the course itself that sets this marathon apart from the rest.

The Magic of a Flat Course

A flat marathon course offers several advantages to runners, especially those aiming for personal records or qualifying for other races. The absence of significant hills reduces the physical strain on the legs and allows runners to maintain a steady pace, conserving valuable energy for later stages of the race. The Berlin Marathon, in particular, is known for its near-pancake-flat terrain, maximizing the possibility of achieving a fast time.

The Berlin Marathon Course Overview

The Berlin Marathon takes participants on an awe-inspiring journey through the heart of Berlin’s historic landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods. The course is a 42.195-kilometer (26.219-mile) loop that starts and finishes at the iconic Brandenburg Gate in the heart of the city. Runners meander alongside the Spree River, traverse blissful parks, and pass famous landmarks like the Berliner Dom, Potsdamer Platz, and Charlottenburg Palace.

The Flattest of Them All?

The Berlin Marathon is often celebrated for its flatness, which provides runners with an excellent opportunity to chase personal bests. The majority of the course is characterized by gentle undulations, ensuring a smooth and steady running experience. However, it is important to note that there are a few slight inclines and declines along the way, primarily to accommodate bridges and underpasses. But don’t let these minimal changes in elevation discourage you; they are barely noticeable when compared to the challenges posed by more hilly courses.

Records and Legends: Berlin’s Fast Reputation

For years, the Berlin Marathon has served as a platform for world records and astonishing athletic achievements. In 2008, the legendary Haile Gebrselassie shattered the men’s world record on Berlin’s streets, crossing the finish line in an astonishing time of 2:03:59. This remarkable accomplishment set the stage for a decade of record-breaking performances, with both male and female records subsequently falling in Berlin.

The Men’s World Record

The Berlin Marathon is widely regarded as a record-breaking course, enticing elite runners from around the globe each year. Notably, the current men’s world record was set in Berlin by Eliud Kipchoge in 2020, with an awe-inspiring time of 2:01:39. Kipchoge’s remarkable feat demonstrated the course’s potential for speed and exemplified why it is considered the mecca of marathon records.

The Women’s World Record

While the Berlin Marathon has witnessed incredible performances on the men’s side, it has also played host to astonishing achievements by female athletes. Brigid Kosgei from Kenya holds the women’s world record, which she achieved during the 2019 event. Kosgei’s phenomenal time of 2:18:35 solidified Berlin’s status as a course capable of empowering women to achieve remarkable feats in the marathon world.

Preparing to Conquer Berlin’s Flat Terrain

Now that we’ve established the Berlin Marathon’s reputation for being incredibly flat, it’s essential to prepare accordingly to fully harness its advantages. Here are a few tips to help you conquer the fast and furious streets of Berlin:

1. Emphasize Speed Workouts

Training for a flat marathon necessitates incorporating speed workouts into your training plan. Focus on intervals, tempo runs, and fartlek training to improve your overall pace and enhance your ability to maintain a consistent speed throughout the race.

2. Strength Training for Endurance

While the Berlin Marathon may not have steep ascents to worry about, building strength in your legs and core is crucial. Engaging in regular strength training exercises will help you maintain good form, reduce the risk of injuries, and improve your ability to sustain speed over the entire 42-kilometer distance.

3. Mental Preparation

Running a marathon requires mental fortitude, and a flat course can present its own unique challenges. Stay focused and motivated during the race knowing that the absence of hills doesn’t equate to an effortless endeavor. Visualize success, break the race into smaller sections, and mentally prepare for maintaining a consistent pace.

So, is the Berlin Marathon flat? Absolutely! While there may be a few minor inclines and declines along the course, the Berlin Marathon remains one of the flattest and fastest marathons in the world. Its illustrious history of record-breaking performances, coupled with its scenic and vibrant setting, makes it an ideal choice for seasoned runners and beginners alike. Embrace the opportunity to achieve your personal best and let the allure of Berlin’s flat terrain carry you to the finish line in unparalleled style.

Thank you for reading. If you're inspired by the stories of Berlin and want to delve deeper, why not join us on our Free Berlin Walking Tour? It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. We look forward to welcoming you soon.


  • 3.5 hours walking tour
  • Berlin’s major highlights
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag and Berlin Wall
  • Historical sites

Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free