April 2016

Hamburg Marathon 2016: The Good And The Bad

The Good:

  • Entry: It’s not a ballot entry. Easy to apply. 
  • Event organisation: In German style, it was efficient and well organised. Faultless. 
  • Baggage drop off and collection: No issues; very quick to drop off bags and collect. No queues.
  • Sports massage: Plenty of sports massage therapists. There were about 2-3 therapists working on each runner. There was a queue, but that is understandable. It wasn’t too long a wait.
  • Route: 1 lap, rather than 1 lap run several times. Route took in plenty of landmarks. Fairly flat.
  • Fuelling system: Extremely well organised. Plenty of water, gels (if you took them), bananas (cut in half), Red Bull and Coke. Tubs of water available to dip your sponge in. 
  • Crowds: Except a short tunnel, the entire route was lined with lively crowds cheering us on. The only UK race that had crowds like this, which I’ve participated in, was Hackney Half.
  • Bib collection: Very quick. No queue. Collected Finisher’s t-shirt nearby. As a slightly superstitious person, I wasn’t too keen on getting this t-shirt prior to completing the marathon.
  • Post-marathon fuelling: Plenty of water and snacks available after the race. 
  • Alcohol-free beer: Krombacher provided alcohol-free beer to all runners the day before and after race. By having an alcohol-free beer brand sponsoring the race, they were being inclusive, and not forgetting us t-totallers.

The Bad:

  • Water in cups, rather than bottles: Hard to run with cups rather than bottles. Slowed me down dramatically. Didn’t feel like I hydrated enough as a result as most of the water ended up slashing on me, rather than me drinking it all. This is one thing I’ll look for in my next race. If cups are used, I’ll be bringing my own bottles and putting them on the self-nutrition tables, if available. 
  • The expo: disappointed with it. I felt like it was different companies offering the same stock. There was one good stand selling Moving Comfort and Shock Absorber bras for 15 euros. I leapt on that. Nothing  otherwise stood out. It was quite bland and boring
I had such a good time at the Hamburg MarathonThere wasn’t anything seriously wrong with the format and I’d recommend it to anyone thinking of running a marathon. I won’t be running it again for a while but only because I want to use marathons as an opportunity to explore other countries. 
Yes, you’ve got that right. I  walked to the marathon start, and crawled out at the finish, but I have the marathon bug. Pain is temporary. Glory is forever. 
Where to next?