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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 record stood until 2018, when Eliud Kipchoge smashed that mark by 78 seconds and finished in 2:01:39 – the biggest advance in the men’s marathon world record for over 50 years. Kichoge once again confirmed his position as the best marathon runner of all time in 2022 when he achieved yet another world record of 2:01:09, improving his own mark from Berlin by exactly half a minute. The Kenyan had established the 12th world record in the history of the BMW Berlin Marathon, which is a total unmatched by any other marathon in the world.

Key stats

  • Inaugural running: 1974
  • Largest field: 44,065 finishers (2019)

Recent participation

Year Finishers Men / Women
2022 34,879 23,335 / 11,537
2021 23,097 16,731 / 6,366
2019 44,065 30,775 / 13,290 

Course records

  • Men: 2:01:09 (Eliud Kipchoge, KEN, 2022)
  • Women: 2:15:37 (Tigist Assefa, ETH, 2018)

Most victories

  • Men: 4 (Haile Gebrselassie, ETH)
  • Women: 3 (Uta Pippig, GER; Renata Kokowska, POL, Aberu Kebede, ETH, Gladys Cherono, KEN) 
  • Runner prize purse: €170,000 (€30,000 for Open Division 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: €37,700 (€7,500 for each champion)

Organisation information