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TUI Marathon Hannover
Sunday 27th April 2014
Christof Schwiening

Anthea and I flew into Bremen on Friday evening and visited some friends. Olaf is now a sports reporter for the local Bremen newspaper - he had been a DDR (East German) runner. He told us the rest of the story about when he lost his bag and passport after competing in the Sunlife Great Race in 1990 (a seriously fast Tour de France-like stage race from Glasgow down to London http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdQ_1l6zAA0). We had a relaxing breakfast with them, in the sunshine and a walk around the local woods before heading down to Hannover and the number collection at the Expo. Our hotel (what was at one point the Inter Contenental) was directly next to the Start/Finish area. We spent the late afternoon with relatives before retiring for the evening. Race day was rather warm and despite there being fewer than 2,000 marathon runners the Start area was buzzing. A mixture of other shorter races (marathon relay, 5 & 10K, half, wheel chair, inline, Nordic walking and other shuffling events) meant that ~15,000 people were taking part. I started at the back of my 'B' area and watched the 3:15 pacers disappear off into the distance. The scenery was mixed - from beautiful woods and lake side running, city centre streets, Baroque gardens through to urban streets. I was upset to see far too many people cutting corners - runners behind were appearing 30 m ahead of me as they causally shortened the course. I aggressively stuck to the running line! For the first time I got stitch about 2/3rds of the way through, but after a slower section I got going again. There were lots of kids out - one causing me to slide to a stop - and pull a muscle - to avoid bumping into her as she was trying to retrieve something at a narrow drinking station. I never quite got going again as running became a bit less comfortable.....I spotted Anthea at about 35 km and stopped to give her a kiss - just as I got going again a random elderly lady demanded a kiss too - I didn't stop! By about 40km the 3:15 pacemakers caught me again, as I was slowing, and I got the jolt I needed to make it to the end. By then the half marathon runners had joined us (they started later) and the course was very crowded. I eased my way through - grunting and groaning at the effort in having to weave past hundreds of 1:45 half marathon runners in the last 1km. None of the half runners appeared to be in any pain. I think the Germans must have a very different view of races - they were definitely more like participants than racers. Overall it was a very friendly enjoyable run. I would not recommend it for a PB attempt unless you are faster than 3 hours because of the half runners.
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