“We have set an example for running,” said Johannes Motschmann when he was ten kilometers behind him.

"We ran for all of them," added Richard Ringer, "who couldn't take part today." Big words for the fact that instead of the 50,000 runners who always go on the marathon route in Berlin on the last Sunday in September, this time the Runners Motschmann and Ringer, Philipp Pflieger and Florian Orth were on the way.

In the closed roundabout they ran around the Victory Column without an audience, 105 laps.

Four seconds below the world record, which Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge improved to 2: 01.39 hours two years ago in Berlin, her relay team covered the marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers.

Michael Reinsch

Correspondent for sports in Berlin.

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As insignificant as the sporting performance, as weighty the symbol.

As if it were about shouting again: Sportsmen of the world, look at this city, the Governing Mayor Michael Müller gave the starting shot and went to the region's television broadcaster, RBB, with an OB van, a presenter stage and a huge crane truck for the top view the start.

"The signal is important that we can start again," said Müller.

"The public can experience sport again at the Istaf, at football and at the marathon."

Situation is serious

That sounds better than the situation is. Not only the Berlin Marathon had to be canceled by its organizer, SCC Event GmbH. In 2019, the company with seventy employees and sixteen major events from half marathons to team relays made almost 19 million euros in sales. "This year the business basis has completely disappeared," says Managing Director Jürgen Lock. Not only the Berlin Marathon, the entire professional sport of the city is running for its life.

The Berlin Senate is providing four million euros to clubs in need, while two million are being donated to the big clubs - Hertha and Union, Alba and Füchsen, polar bears and volleys, and the marathon - through city marketing. Despair and confidence were reflected in the presence of the clubs and their mascots on Straße des 17. Juni, a few hundred meters west of the Brandenburg Gate. Kaweh Niroomand, managing director of the Berlin Volleys and spokesman for the professional clubs, shared the same horn as Müller: “We show that the sports city of Berlin is alive; Furthermore, this is a recognition of the cooperation we have started with the Senate and which has helped us a lot in getting through this difficult situation. "

Marco Baldi, his colleague from basketball, warns that the sports landscape is a figurehead for Berlin. When asked whether the marathon should not also participate in the 200 million that the federal government is making available to the professional leagues apart from the first and second football leagues, he replied: “I don't know whether this bridging fund will last in the long term. We have to make it clear what could be lost culturally and socially. "

Of the 25 billion euros with which the federal government wants to support medium-sized companies, the medium-sized Berlin Marathon has applied for 25,000 - a drop in the ocean.

“What we do is top-class sport on the one hand and mass sport on the other,” says marathon organizer Lock.

“In addition, we are business, we are tourism.

There is no cross-departmental collaboration at the federal government, so nobody feels responsible.

We actually needed a round table at which everyone would think together: How do we get that up in the next year? "

Flexibility in terms of hygiene regulations

If the half marathon is to take place in April as usual, the organization must start now. “What guarantees can we get if this run has to fail too?” Asks Lock. He demands flexibility in the hygiene regulations. His city runs only become economical after 30,000 participants. “It can't be done at a distance of one and a half meters,” he says. His race director Mark Milde is considering testing all participants for the virus before starting. Since it is not the spectators who break away from the Berlin Marathon, but the paying participants, the President of the Berlin State Sports Association, Thomas Härtel, also demands: “The federal government must adapt the aid package for the professional leagues. The marathon and the athletics sports festival Istaf belong in there. "

13,000 runners had downloaded the app, with which they could see from all over the world how far they could get from Kipchoge in the 2: 01.39 hours. That is twice as many as signed the petition for the rescue of the large and small races in Germany, which German Road Races, the organizers of the organizers, is calling for. “That is puzzling,” says the former politician Härtel, “the sport is not very campaignable.” Millions run, but only six thousand of them demand help for runs. Could it be that the need is not great enough yet?