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This was my 2nd time running Berlin. First time was back in 2000. Back then it wasn't as big and definitely wasn't a lottery to get into. My favorite part was the Start much energy and then running through the Brandenburg gate!!

Expo-The expo was one of my top 3. A lot of energy and variety of vendors. FYI, It got very crowded right away. I went an hour after opening on Friday.

Shirt/medal--race premium. I didn't read the fine print when I registered in that you pay separately for your race shirt. You can prepay with your registration or purchase one at the expo. Huge caveat with the latter in that the official merchandise section looks like the one day bridal gown sale opening at Filene's Basement. Let's just say elbows were flying when staff restocked shelves. At the expo, you can also prepay for medal engraving for after the race.

Spectators-the course was packed with spectators most of the way. Not many desolate areas. There were a lot of great bands on course. Similar to Paris's course. Bands with the big drums and brass sections. So energetic I wanted to stop and take more in!

Aid stations-The aid stations are about every 5k and were properly stocked. They had water, tea and taxofit fluids and nutrition. The first few aid stations were on both sides of the street then they were only on the right side since the streets are too narrow for runners and aid stations. The aid stations were bottle necked even the last one. You had to be cautious within each as everyone was of course rushing to them and even going to the end of the station I continually felt like I would end up tripped. I skipped the last 3 to avoid the chaos. Next time will run with own bottle. They also gave you a sponge in your gear bag to bring on course. They had huge buckets of water for you to soak sponge in to help you cool off during race They even had an aid station with massage therapists. Two thumbs up especially for when those leg cramps slow us down. They also had an aid station within the last 10k that had red bull. At that point I needed an extra jolt to get me home!

Porta potties-They had plenty at the corrals. Not many at athletes village. I didn't realize there were so many at start. Just a heads up that out of my 73 marathons this one had the most runners relieving themselves in the wide old open..pre, during, post race : )

Course-There is a reason the world record is set here as Kenenisa Bekele missed breaking it by 6 seconds this year!! The course was nice and flat. Even flatter than Chicago (no Mt Roosevelt) ! For my mile focused friends, heads up in that the markers are in kilometers. It seemed like the course didn't break up until mile 22. It was hard to get into a groove until then because the course was so packed. I started in corral F.

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