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BMW Berlin Marathon

About the BMW Berlin Marathon


A group of runners from one of Germany’s most prestigious athletics clubs, SC Charlottenburg, organised the first Berlin Marathon in 1974 and it quickly developed into Germany’s biggest and best-quality marathon after moving to the city centre in 1981.

A new era began after the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989. On 30 September 1990, three days before reunification, the Berlin Marathon went through Brandenburg Gate, linking both parts of Berlin. The flat and fast loop course was changed significantly for the 2003 race when Paul Tergat ran a world record of 2:04:55. Haile Gebrselassie broke that record in 2007 and 2008, before Patrick Makau reclaimed the record for Kenya in 2011 – followed by compatriots Wilson Kipsang in 2013 and Dennis Kimetto in 2014. 

Gebrselassie’s mark stood until 2018, when Eliud Kipchoge finished in 2:01:39. In 2019, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele missed Kipchoge’s world record by two seconds, clocking 2:01:41. 

Key stats

  • Inaugural running: 1974
  • Largest field: 44,065 finishers (2019)
  • Estimated number of spectators: 1 million

Recent participation

Year Finishers (Men/Women)
2021 23,097 16,731/6,366
2019 44,065 (30,775/13,290) 
2018 40,775 (28,443/12,332) 

Course records

  • Men: 2:01:39 (Eliud Kipchoge, KEN, 2018)
  • Women: 2:18:11 (Gladys Cherono, KEN, 2018)

Most victories

  • Men: 4 (Haile Gebrselassie, ETH)
  • Women: 3 (Uta Pippig, GER; Renata Kokowska, POL, Aberu Kebede, ETH, Gladys Cherono, KEN) 
  • Prize purse: €168,000 plus time bonuses (€30,000 to male and female champions)

Wheelchair course records

  • Men: 1:21:39 (Heinz Frei, SUI, 1997)  
  • Women: 1:36:53 (Manuela Schär, SUI, 2018)  

Most wheelchair victories

  • Men: 20 (Heinz Frei, SUI)
  • Women: 6 (Manuela Schär, SUI)
  • Wheelchair prize purse: €35,700 (€7,500 to champions)

Organisation information