Berlin Marathon and the City of Berlin received a World Athletics Heritage Plaque at a colorful ceremony held in Berlin’s City Hall on Wednesday (1).
During the award ceremony the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Kai Wegner was joined by the marathon’s founder, Horst Milde, and a host of runners including Uta Pippig, the 1993 New York City Marathon winner and a three-time marathon champion in Berlin and Boston. The plaque, which has been awarded in the joint categories of ‘City’ and ‘Competition’, celebrates the city’s rich athletics history, including the first organised running events in the 1890s and the foundation of the Berlin Marathon in 1974.
“World Athletics is delighted to recognise the outstanding contribution that the city of Berlin and the Berlin Marathon have made to the history and development of international athletics, with the award of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe in a video message. “The plaque honours more than 130 years of organised track & field athletics and running events in Berlin. Notably, in 1913, Berlin staged the second Congress in our federation’s history and the city is one of only nine to have hosted the summer Olympic Games and the World Athletics Championships. On those two occasions, Berlin’s Olympic Stadium provided the dramatic stage for the legendary triumphs of Jesse Owens and Usain Bolt. At the epicentre of the city’s running history is the annual Berlin Marathon, founded by running enthusiast Horst Milde. The race director for the first three decades, Horst established the Berlin Marathon’s international reputation for organisational excellence. With more than 40,000 finishers annually, the Berlin Marathon is one of the world’s largest mass road races. The city’s flat, fast course attracts the world’s best elite runners. Twenty years since Paul Tergat ran the first sub-2:05 marathon, Berlin’s streets have seen the men’s world record broken another seven times. Berlin has also welcomed the first women to run a sub-2:20 and, only a few weeks ago, break the 2:12:00 barrier. In total, 13 world records have been set there since 1974. With today’s award of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque, we salute Berlin’s historic place in our sport’s history”.
The World Athletics Heritage Plaque is a location-based recognition, awarded for an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics and of out-of-stadia athletics disciplines such as cross country, mountain, road, trail and ultra-running, and race walking.
The plaque was presented to Mayor Wegner and Milde in the Rotes Rathaus, the red city hall of Berlin, by World Athletics Heritage Director Chris Turner in the presence of guests from the city, and representatives of the Berlin Marathon and the German Athletics Federation (DLV). The plaque will be placed on permanent public display in the Rotes Rathaus.
A distinguished line-up of runners attended the ceremony, including the inaugural Berlin Marathon winners from 1974, Gunter Hallas and Jutta von Haase. The latter won three times and she was joined by another two runners with triple Berlin victories, Pippig and Ingo Sensburg, plus Bodo Tummler, the 1968 Olympic 1500m bronze medallist and 1966 European champion.
Kai Wegner, Governing Mayor of Berlin, commented: “World Athletics, the world governing body for the sport of athletics, has awarded Berlin and the Berlin Marathon the World Athletics Heritage Plaque. This is a great honour for Berlin, which is such a sports-loving city. “Above all, it is recognition of the great enthusiasm of many Berlin citizens who, through their voluntary involvement, have for decades contributed to the success story of this internationally renowned sports event. Berlin says thank you to World Athletics and Sebastian Coe, its chair, for this very special expression of appreciation.“
Horst Milde, founder of the Berlin Marathon, said: “The awarding of the Heritage Plaque by World Athletics to the Berlin Marathon, which has now been running for almost 50 years, is a great and significant honour for the organisational team, the SCC Berlin club and the many volunteers and for myself.