The Berlin Marathon is more than just a race; it’s a spectacle that draws crowds from all corners of the globe.
Whether you’re a seasoned marathon spectator or a first-timer, plenty of places along the route offer fantastic vantage points to cheer on the runners and soak in the atmosphere.
I wish I had read an article like this before I did the Berlin Marathon, it would’ve made the race and all its iconic spots along the route even more enjoyable.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best spots to watch the Berlin Marathon:
- The Start Area
- Victory Column (0.6 km)
- Federal Chancellery and Reichstag (6.5 km)
- Friedrichstadtpalast (8 km)
- Platz am Wilden Eber (28.5 km)
- Olivaer Platz (33.5 km)
- Memorial Church (35 km)
- Potsdamer Platz (38.5 km)
- Unter den Linden (41 km)
- Brandenburg Gate (42 km)
A Brief Overview of the Berlin Marathon
The Berlin Marathon, known as the BMW Berlin Marathon for sponsorship reasons, is a highly anticipated annual running and sporting event held in Berlin, Germany.
The event occurs every year on the last Sunday of September. This year, it will be held on September 29, 2024. It brings together professional athletes and amateur runners from around the world to tackle the official marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles, 385 yards) in a citywide road race.
Since its inception in 1974, the marathon has become a prominent fixture on the running calendar. In 2000, the race was rescheduled due to a conflict with the Olympic Marathon date, and in 2018, it was held two weeks earlier to accommodate preparations for the Day of German Unity.
The Berlin Marathon festivities extend over two days, offering a range of activities. The Saturday preceding the running event sees thousands of inline skaters take to the marathon course.
Additionally, power walkers, hand-bikers, wheelchair riders, and young participants in the children’s marathon (4.2195 km) all have their dedicated events.
These activities are skillfully organized by SCC Events, ensuring an inclusive and engaging marathon weekend for all involved.
Berlin Marathon Route Profile
The Berlin Marathon route presents a profile that is highly regarded among runners for its flat and fast nature, making it a preferred course for achieving personal bests and even breaking world records.
The race begins near the iconic Brandenburg Gate, situated at approximately 38 meters (125 feet) above sea level. From the start, the course offers relatively level terrain, allowing runners to find their rhythm and establish a strong pace early on.
As the race progresses, the route takes participants through the heart of Berlin, showcasing a mix of historical landmarks and vibrant cityscapes. Along the way, runners pass notable sites such as the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom), Alexanderplatz, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Wall Memorial.
The Berlin Marathon route is designed to provide favourable conditions for speed, with a net elevation loss. While there may be subtle undulations and minor inclines throughout the course, the overall trend is a gradual decline, contributing to faster finishing times.
Now, let’s look at some of the best spots along the Berlin Marathon route where you can show your support for your favorite runners from the sidelines.
Top 10 Spectator Spots to Watch The Berlin Marathon
The Start Area
As the starting point of the race, the Start Area sets the tone for the entire event. It is filled with an electric atmosphere as runners from all walks of life gather to embark on their 42-kilometer (26.2-mile) journey through the streets of Berlin.
Arrive early at the Start Area to soak up the pre-race energy and witness the runners’ preparations.
Look out for famous elite runners and soak in the atmosphere of camaraderie and determination that permeates the air. It’s a great opportunity to take inspiring photos and capture the vibrant spirit of the marathon’s beginning.
Victory Column (0.6 km)
The Victory Column, located near the start of the race, buzzes with excitement and anticipation. It offers a lively atmosphere as the runners begin their journey.
Consider bringing signs, flags, or noisemakers to cheer on the participants and create an uplifting atmosphere.
This offers the opportunity to see the runners more than once; being at the start gives you time to make your way to another point on the route well in time.
As a runner, this is a phenomenal way to start the race; the group splits to go on either side of the Victory Column, and it gets you revved up as you start. I had been to the Victory Column in the days before my race, and so it was great to run past it at the start of my race.
Federal Chancellery and Reichstag (6.5 km)
This section showcases prominent government buildings and historic landmarks. The atmosphere is vibrant, with a mix of locals and tourists coming together to support the runners.
Position yourself near the Federal Chancellery or Reichstag for a chance to capture stunning photos with these iconic structures in the background. Enjoy the architectural beauty while cheering on the runners.
Friedrichstadtpalast (8 km)
As the runners approach Friedrichstadtpalast, an elegant theatre venue, the atmosphere takes on a lively and theatrical ambiance. Expect cheers and applause from both spectators and performers.
Platz am Wilden Eber (28.5 km)
At Platz am Wilden Eber, expect a vibrant and energetic atmosphere. This spot attracts passionate spectators who bring enthusiasm and cheer for the participants during a critical stage of the race.
Bring signs or noise-making props to uplift the spirits of the runners as they enter the later part of the race. It’s here that they will need your support!
Olivaer Platz (33.5 km)
Olivaer Platz offers a more relaxed and laid-back ambiance. Situated in the Schöneberg district, this spot allows you to witness the determination and perseverance of the runners.
Memorial Church (35 km)
The Memorial Church, or Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, provides a serene and reflective atmosphere. This spot invites spectators to pay their respects while celebrating the runners’ achievements.
The runners will really be hurting now, and your support will make a massive difference, I can promise you!
Take a moment to appreciate the historical significance of the Memorial Church. Offer your support with encouraging cheers and applaud the runners as they approach this landmark.
Potsdamer Platz (38.5 km)
Potsdamer Platz, a bustling city square, exudes a vibrant and energetic vibe.
Here, you’ll find a lively crowd of spectators, live music, and an electric atmosphere as the runners near the finish line.
Unter den Linden (41 km):
Unter den Linden, a historic boulevard, offers a mix of grandeur and anticipation. The street is lined with cheering spectators, creating a supportive and exhilarating atmosphere for the runners.
Position yourself along Unter den Linden to witness the runners’ determination in the closing stages of the race.
Brandenburg Gate (42 km)
The finish line at the Brandenburg Gate is the ultimate culmination of the Berlin Marathon, evoking genuine excitement and a spectrum of emotions.
Personally, this was an enigmatic experience. Aside from knowing that I had completed a marathon, which is a feat always to be celebrated, I also felt every bit of the history of East and West Germany and the significance of the Brandenburg Gate, and so this made it all even more special.
Coming from South Africa and all we have endured with Apartheid and overcoming this, the enormity of running through the Brandenburg Gate, with all its significance, was not lost on me. And made my race experience all the more amazing!
My advice would be to go see this before you run the race; it makes it even more special when you pass through it on your race day!
As runners from diverse backgrounds and varying levels of ability cross the finish line, their faces reflect a mix of joy, elation, and sometimes even tears of triumph.
The atmosphere is electric, with a sea of spectators’ cheers and cowbells reverberating through the air. The collective pride and enthusiasm create an unparalleled ambiance of celebration.
Being present at the finish line of the Berlin Marathon is an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you with cherished memories and a profound appreciation for the incredible achievement of the participants.
Spectators Tours At The Berlin Marathon
One exciting addition to the Berlin Marathon experience is the introduction of spectator tours, which offer unique ways to support your friends and enjoy the race.
These tours allow you to navigate the course and easily move from one spot to another.
Let’s explore the six new spectator tours available and what they offer:
- Start by watching the first wave of runners, then walk to the Swiss Embassy, proceed to Hauptbahnhof, and take the train to Alexanderplatz.
- Explore Berlin’s widest boulevard, Karl-Marx-Allee, at the 11.2-km mark.
- Use public transportation to reach different spots along the course, including Moritzplatz (14 km), Gneisenaustraße (19 km), Eisenacherstraße (22 km), Breitenbachplatz (27 km), Fehrbelliner Platz (37 km), and Wittenbergplatz (36 km).
- Finally, walk to the Finish-Line-Village and cheer on the last runners.
- Witness the start, including the hand bikers, and then walk with the second wave of runners.
- Walk from Victory Column to Hansaplatz, and take the train to Zoologischer Garten.
- Explore Kurfürstendamm and witness the top athletes.
- Continue the tour by taking the U-Bahn to Nollendorfplatz and celebrating at the Adidas Runners Hot Spot.
- Walk to Blülowstrasse/Potsdamer Strasse and motivate the runners.
– Lastly, walk to the Brandenburg Gate and the grandstand at the finish.
- Observe the various starts until the second wave of runners.
- Walk through the Tiergarten to Potsdamer Platz and watch the first-hand bikers, wheelchair drivers, and top runners.
- Proceed to the finish line to witness the fastest men and women cross it.
- Stroll along Unter den Linden and Französische Strasse to the Gendarmenmarkt, where you can relax in a cozy café and applaud the runners.
- Start later in the morning and head to Kotti (Kottbusser Tor) at 15 km.
- Enjoy a drink or a bite to eat in the lively Kreuzberg neighborhood.
- Ride to Kurfürstenstraße, then return to the Hot Spot at Bülowstrasse/Potsdamer Strasse (37 km).
- Use public transportation (U2) to reach Potsdamer Platz (38.5 km) and eventually walk to the grandstand at the finish line to cheer on the marathon heroes.
- Watch the starts until the third wave of runners.
- Walk to the Swiss Embassy at 6.9 km and then proceed to Hauptbahnhof, taking the train to Yorkstraße.
- Walk to the half marathon point under the York bridges and enjoy the unique atmosphere of Kreuzberg.
- Cheer on your friends at the Hot Spot at Bülowstrasse/Potsdamer Strasse (37 km) and join the running crews.
- Take the train to Potsdamer Platz and walk to the Brandenburg Gate to wait for all your friends to cross the finish line.
- For Cycling Enthusiasts: On the Bike
- Watch the starts and cycle via Victory Column to Alt-Moabit/Turmstrasse (4.8 km).
- Cheer on the runners at Torstrasse and enjoy the Jazz Bands.
- Visit various spots along the course, including Moritzplatz (14 km), Mehringdamm (19 km), Rathaus Schöneberg (23 km), and Nollendorfplatz (36.5 km) with the Adidas Runners.
- Continue to Bülowstrasse/Potsdamer Strasse to party with the running crews.
- Finally, cycle to Potsdamer Platz (38.2 km), Gleisdreick-Park, and the Finish-Line-Village to support the last runners.
These spectator tours offer a fantastic way to engage with the Berlin Marathon and enjoy different parts of the city while cheering on the runners.
Each tour has its own highlights and unique experiences, ensuring an unforgettable race day for spectators.
Is There A Designated Meeting Point For Families And Friends?
Yes, there is a designated family reunion area in front of the Paul-Löbe-Haus where you can meet up with your loved ones after the race. Look for the sign displaying the first letter of your last name as a reference point.
Is It Possible To Cross The Marathon Course?
While it is possible to cross the course, be mindful of the runners.
Crossing the marathon course is only permitted in the finish area at Pariser Platz. Please follow the instructions provided by the event helpers to ensure the safety and smooth flow of the race.
Will There Be Seating Available For Spectators In The Finish Area?
Yes, there will be stands positioned on both sides just before the finish line. These stands are free of charge, providing family and friends with the opportunity to watch runners cross the finish line either live or on a large screen.
Will The Event Be Broadcast Live?
You can also watch the event from the comfort of your home. Albeit not as fun as being on the course.
The BMW Berlin Marathon will be televised live in over 150 countries, ensuring a global audience. In Germany, N-TV will commence its four-hour live coverage at 8:30 a.m.
International coverage will be provided by networks such as Eurosport, BBC 2, Supersport, Al Jazeera, Sport 5 (Israel), Fuji TV (Japan), CBC (Canada), Sky Mexico, Globosat (Brazil), and Universal Sports (U.S.) via cable and webstream.
The world feed, produced by SCC Events, the organizer of the BMW Berlin Marathon, boasts an impressive production with 18 cameras capturing the action.
This includes eight camera spots along the course, a Cineflexx HD cam mounted on a helicopter, and a Steady Segway Cam, all working together to capture every thrilling moment of the race.