The Berlin Marathon is one of the world’s most iconic marathons, drawing thousands of athletes from around the world. Each year, thousands of runners flock to the German capital to take part. 

But with such a prestigious event comes an extensive qualification process. So if you’re dreaming of running in The Berlin Marathon, here is everything you need to know about entering this prestigious race

To secure a spot at the start line of the Berlin Marathon 2023, there are four options available to aspiring participants. These options include:

  • AIMS-Certified Fast Runner
  • Through Charity Partners
  • Through Tour Operators
  • Lottery System

Let’s take a deep dive into each of these options.

AIMS-Certified Fast Runner

If you’re a fast runner who has achieved a qualifying time, you have the opportunity to register as an AIMS-Certified runner. This signifies that you meet the high standards established by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS).

To register, you need to create a user account on the SCC Events website. Then, you can digitally add proof of your best marathon time to your registration form. The proof must not be older than 3 years (run time in 2020).

If your finishing time meets the specified qualifying criteria, you can expect to receive a confirmation in December of the previous year, securing your spot in the Berlin Marathon. However, if your time does not meet the qualifying standards, your registration will be entered into the lottery system.

The registration fee is approximately €163.

What Are The Qualifying Times?

The qualifying times for men and women may vary based on age groups. 

Age18-44 years old44-59 years old60+ years old
Man2:45 hours2:55 hours3:25 hours
Women3:00 hours3:20 hours.4:10 hours

Charity Partners

The Berlin Marathon offers a wonderful opportunity for runners to support various charitable causes by participating in the race. 

Many charities have allocated entries specifically for individuals who are willing to make a commitment to fundraising for their organization. By choosing to run for a charity, you can make a meaningful impact while pursuing your personal marathon goals.

There are several charity partners associated with the Berlin Marathon, each dedicated to a specific cause or mission. Some of these charity partners include:

For a full list, please visit the official BMW Berlin Marathon website

Tour Operators

For runners seeking a convenient and stress-free marathon experience, tour operators and travel agencies offer enticing marathon packages that include guaranteed entry to the Berlin Marathon. 

These comprehensive packages not only secure your race entry but also take care of travel arrangements, accommodations, and additional perks.

One of the significant advantages of opting for a tour operator package is their access to race entries, even after the general lottery drawing has taken place. This means that participants who were not successful in securing a spot through the lottery still have a chance to participate in the marathon. 

The entries provided by tour operators are typically guaranteed, offering a secure way to ensure your participation in this prestigious event.

 Some of the tour partners include:

To find a comprehensive list of tour operators for the BMW Berlin Marathon, simply visit the official BMW Berlin Marathon website

There, you will have access to the full roster of tour operators who offer packages and services for participants. This will help you explore your options and choose the tour operator that best suits your needs and preferences.

Lottery System

The Berlin Marathon offers an entry option through a lottery system, giving interested participants a chance to secure a spot in the race. 

To enter the lottery, you can apply online during the designated registration period. Please note that entering the lottery does not guarantee a spot, as the selection is determined through a random drawing.

When applying for the lottery, you have the choice to register as an individual or as part of a team of 2-3 people. If a team is selected, all members of the team will receive a marathon entry, but there is no team ranking in the race.

The deadline to submit your lottery application is typically from 29 September until 23:59 (UTC +1:00) on 17 November of the preceding year. 

It’s important to note that there is no fee to enter the lottery, and only those selected as winners will be required to pay the marathon entry fee of €163

Each person is allowed to submit only one application, either as an individual or as part of a team. Notifications regarding the entry status will be sent to lottery applicants via email on December 1 of the preceding year.

So now that you’re aware of the various options to enter the prestigious BMW Berlin Marathon, let’s delve into the eligibility criteria and who is allowed to participate in this exciting event. 

Who Is Allowed To Participate?

The BMW Berlin Marathon is open to participants who meet certain criteria:

  • Age Requirement: Participants must be 18 years old or older (born in 2005 or earlier) to be eligible to attend the race.
  • Time Limit: All participants must complete the course within a time limit of 6 hours and 15 minutes. The time limit is measured from the moment they cross the starting line.
  • Nordic Walkers: Nordic walkers are not permitted to compete in the BMW Berlin Marathon.
  • Walkers: Walkers are allowed to participate in the marathon as long as they can finish the course within the designated time limit of 6 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Authorized Sports Equipment: Only handbikes and race wheelchairs are allowed as sports equipment for participants with disabilities. 

More information for wheelchair competitors and hand bikers can be found on the official marathon website.

When Is The 2023 Berlin Marathon?

The Berlin Marathon is on Sunday, September 24th, 2023. Just check out the countdown on the Berlin Marathon website for the exact time.

While there are mini-activities and a mini-marathon scheduled for Saturday, September 23rd, it’s important to note that the main highlight and focal point of the weekend is the marathon itself, taking place on Sunday. 

What you do in the lead-up to the Berlin Marathon will either set you up for success or failure…

Ensure your success with 12 weeks of access to the Coach Parry 42k Training Roadmap!

How Do You Prepare For The Mile Markers?

Bid farewell to miles and feet, and welcome kilometers and meters with open arms. In Germany, you won’t find those familiar mile markers along the course. Instead, get ready to encounter a marker at every kilometer.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the course without mile markers:

  1. Familiarise Yourself with Kilometre Distances: Since the markers will be in kilometers, it’s helpful to be aware of the main distances in kilometers, such as 10K, 20K, half marathon (21.1K), 30K, and so on. This way, you can mentally track your progress and set goals based on these distances.
  1. Use Your Watch: Rely on your personal running watch or a GPS device to keep track of your pace, time, and distance. This will allow you to monitor your progress between kilometer markers and ensure you stay on track with your race strategy.
  1. Study the Course Map: Review the course map provided by the race organizers, as it will give you a good overview of the route and the locations of the kilometer markers. Familiarise yourself with key landmarks and turns to mentally prepare for each section of the race.

How To Train For The Berlin Marathon 

When you’re gearing up for the Berlin Marathon, it’s important to understand that your training goes beyond simply putting in the miles. It’s a holistic approach that involves several key elements, each playing a crucial role in your preparation. 

These components are like puzzle pieces that come together to form the foundation of your training plan, paving the way for your success in the marathon. 

So, let’s dive into these essential aspects

  • Easy Runs
  • Long Runs
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Cross Training
  • Nutrition
  • Recovery Time 
  • Tapering

To ensure optimal preparation for the Berlin Marathon, it’s recommended to start your training approximately 16 to 20 weeks before the race day. This timeframe allows you to gradually build up your endurance and reach your peak performance when it matters most.

During the initial phase, which spans around 4 to 8 weeks, focus on establishing a solid foundation. This involves consistent running to condition your body and get into a rhythm. 

By gradually increasing your mileage and incorporating regular runs into your schedule, you’ll lay the groundwork for the more intense training to come.

Once you’ve built a strong foundation, it’s time to kick things up a notch. Around 12 weeks before race day, typically in mid-June, you can commence your official Berlin Marathon training plan. 

This period is dedicated to more specific workouts tailored to enhance your speed, endurance, and race-day performance.

With that in mind, let’s briefly look at the Berlin Marathon training plan.

Easy Runs

The key to easy runs is to keep a relaxed and conversational pace. It is critical to emphasize that “easy” means EASY.

These runs should not leave you out of breath or struggling for air; instead, they should allow you to comfortably converse with a running partner.

Easy runs are an essential component of any training plan as they serve a primary purpose: developing the aerobic system. 

This system plays a crucial role in supplying energy to your muscles during submaximal efforts. 

By incorporating easy runs into your training routine, you give your body the opportunity to adapt, repair, and strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments while improving energy metabolism.

During easy runs, it’s important to maintain an appropriate intensity that strikes a balance between stimulating your aerobic capacity and allowing enough recovery time before your next challenging workout. 

Easy runs also provide mental and psychological benefits. They offer a break from more intense training sessions, allowing you to enjoy the simple pleasure of running while promoting relaxation and stress reduction. 

These runs can be a time to clear your mind, connect with nature, or enjoy the company of running partners.

Remember, the goal of easy runs is not to push yourself to the limit or set personal records. Instead, focus on maintaining a consistent effort and embracing the recovery and adaptation process that occurs during these runs. 

Long Runs

Long runs serve multiple important functions in your training plan, with the primary focus being on improving endurance and fueling your muscles for extended periods of time. 

These runs are essential for preparing your body to sustain the demands of a marathon distance.

In addition to building endurance, long runs also play a crucial role in improving your running economy. 

Spending more time on your feet during these runs helps your body develop the necessary muscle strength, neuromuscular coordination, and cardiovascular fitness to maintain an efficient and steady running pace. 

As a result, you’ll be able to run more comfortably ultimately leading to improved performance on race day.

Another advantage of long runs is the opportunity they provide for experimenting with nutrition strategies. 

Since these runs simulate the duration and intensity of a marathon, it’s a perfect time to test different fueling and hydration approaches. By trying out various nutrition options, you can determine what works best for you and refine your race-day nutrition plan accordingly.

Check out our video This Is Why You Need To Include Long Runs In Your Training

Strength Training

Strength training is a critical component for runners who aim to prevent injury and improve their running performance. 

One of the most significant benefits of strength training is that it helps reduce your risk of injury. 

When smaller muscle groups aren’t functioning correctly, larger muscles take over and lead to misaligned movement patterns, resulting in potential injury. 

Additionally, strength training improves a runner’s running economy by 4%–6%, depending on their level and the type and frequency of strength training. 

This translates to runners being able to run further and more efficiently with less fuel in their bodies. It also helps delay the onset of fatigue. 

When it comes to incorporating strength training into a runner’s routine, it is ideal to do 2 to 3 strength training sessions per week. 

While it might seem like there isn’t enough time for strength training, it is critical to make time to do so to prevent injury and enhance performance. 

Periodisation of strength training is also essential. It’s about balancing strength training with running training, laying the foundation, and complementing the runner’s overall training plan.

Strength training is a fundamental component of the Coach Parry training philosophy, which is why we prioritize it by including our Strength and Conditioning plans in our comprehensive training programmes.

Understanding the importance of strength training is crucial, and you can delve deeper into this topic by reading more here.

Making sure you do the correct strength training is important. The good news is we’ve created a free strength training plan for runners that you can download by clicking here.


Since running largely entails high-impact actions that tax our muscles, cross-training enables us to take part in activities that have positive effects on our cardiovascular system and stimulate our muscles without subjecting them to eccentric loading.

Cross-training will help you prepare for the Berlin Marathon by diversifying your routines and minimising the impact on your body. Here are some top cross-training options to take into account:


Tapering is the process of lowering volume before a significant competition.

The anxiety of cutting back on training makes it one of the most important components of Berlin Marathon preparation, but it can also be one of the hardest to put into practice.

To fully recuperate from training and perform at your best, tapering includes cutting back on miles.

The purpose of the taper is to maintain some training stimulus while allowing your body to refresh and maximise strength for race day.

Marathon Tapering Method GUARANTEED To Have You At Your BEST Come Race Day


When it comes to marathon training, a well-balanced diet is essential for optimal performance. 

It should include a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and an adequate amount of micro and macronutrients. 

If you struggle to stay awake and struggle with weariness following your morning workouts, it may be an indication that your post-workout nutrition needs adjustment.

While training naturally causes fatigue, a significant portion of it can be alleviated by enhancing your nutritional intake.

Recovery Time 

Rest days are an integral part of any training program, often underestimated by many runners. 

It is crucial to understand that, in order to fully reap the benefits of our training, we must prioritise proper recovery. During rest days, our bodies have the opportunity to adapt and make progress based on the training we have completed. 

Without adequate recovery, we risk missing out on the full benefit of our training efforts.

Allowing yourself time to recover after your runs is what makes it possible for you to come back better prepared for your next run. 

Race Day Strategy

Developing a well-thought-out race day strategy is the key to achieving success in the Berlin Marathon. 

The most effective strategy is to start the race with a conservative effort in the first half. 

By doing so, you can conserve your energy and avoid burning out too early. This approach allows you to settle into a comfortable rhythm and gradually build momentum as the race progresses.

By strategically managing your effort, you can prevent hitting the wall and ensure that you have enough left in the tank for the final push toward the finish line.

In addition to pacing, it’s crucial to ensure that you fuel correctly so that you keep supplying the energy your body needs to tackle the second half of the Berlin Marathon.

Expert Tips For Race Day  

  • Plan your travel route ahead of time, and arrive at the starting location early: This will give you ample time to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the race. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the starting area and course map to avoid any last-minute confusion.
  • Do not use new equipment or nutrition on race day that you haven’t previously tested: Race day is not the time to try out new gear or nutrition. Stick to the tried and tested equipment and food that you have used during training. 
  • During the race, it is important to pace yourself and stay hydrated: It is crucial to fuel up during the race to keep your energy levels up. Start the race with a manageable effort, and maintain an appropriate effort throughout the race. Pay attention to your body and adjust your effort if necessary

Devlin Eyden has a passion for seeing his athletes grow and excel. From novice runners or cyclists across all disciplines to elite mountain bikers representing South Africa at World Championships. In addition to helping you ride faster, for longer, Devlin also has the personal touch when it comes to your bike setup, aiming at improving the overall rider experience. With his background as a Sport Scientist as well as a Strength & Conditioning specialist, performance is Devlin’s main priority, be it in the gym, the lab or out on the road or trails. Being a keen runner & cyclist and having completed the Cape Epic among others, Devlin has first hand experience in what it take to reach your goals. If you’re looking for a once-off training program or ongoing, high touch support Devlin has you covered.

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