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Where to watch the Berlin Marathon

Wondering where to watch the Berlin Marathon? Our handy guide has got you covered.

Photo: IMAGO / GE-Foto

The biggest event in the Berlin sporting calendar is hitting the streets September 24th, with around 35,000 sporty types taking to the tarmac in running shoes, inline skates, wheelchairs and handcycles for the 42.2 kilometres (26.2 mile) race.

Even if you’re not much of an athlete yourself, the event is tons of fun as a spectator, with much of central Berlin shutting down for the race. Along the closed roads of the route there is always live music, cheering crowds and a celebratory atmosphere. Come early to watch the fastest runners on the planet battling it out for a massive cash prize, support your friend to cheer them on as they hit that brutal 30k wall, or just come to enjoy the live music and the festival vibes. 

Assefa and Kipchoge, the world record breakers in 2022. Photo: IMAGO / Cover-Images

The route

Because Berlin is as flat as the proverbial pancake, the course has produced a massive twelve record breaking race times. Most recently in 2022, Eliud Kipchoge set the men’s record with a time of 2:01:09. In the same year Tigist Assefa set the women’s record with 2:15:37. Both Kipchoge and Assefa are returning for the Berlin Marathon this year, so it’s an exciting opportunity to see the world record breakers in the flesh. 

The wheelchair race begins. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

The course passes through several of the most beautiful areas of town, so there are lots of great spots to go and watch the action. It begins and ends at Brandenburger Tor, with the first stretch heading west through Tiergarten. The runners will eventually make their way down to Strausberger Platz, continuing south down through Kreuzberg and Neukölln. The course loops back north again via Hohenzollerndamm, with a triumphant final few hundred metres along Unter den Linden, finishing at Brandenburger Tor. Epic stuff. You can see the full map of the course on the marathon website.

The handbike race begins. Photo: IMAGO / Camera 4

Spectator tours

The organisers have cooked up something entirely new for this year’s marathon – six spectator tours, to let sports fans easily get between different spots along the course. Check out the links below for maps and details of how to get around. Some of them are walking only, and some require a bike or a public transport ticket.  

The race starts out through Tiergarten via the Siegessäule. Photo: IMAGO / blickwinkel
  • Watch the first wave of pro runners start at 9.15am and then hop around the course on the U-Bahn to see them at different points around the course on the Berliner-Kiezbummler Tour
  • Watch the start of the race with the hand bikers starting at 8.50am, walk with the first wave of runners via the Siegessäule and then jump on the U-Bahn before heading back to the start to enjoy the finish at the Brandenburg Gate on the City West tour.
There’s always people playing live music all along the route. Photo: IMAGO / Camera 4
  • If those start times are a little early for you, tag along for the Kreuzberger Nächte sind lang tour tour. Starting at Kottbusser Tor at 10.30am you can grab a drink from the Späti and a kebab to catch the runners along the canal and along Kurfürstenstraße. 
  • A great tour if you want to support the non-pro runners is the Kurz & Schmerzlos tour. Watch the start of the third wave of runners at 10am and then take the train to Yorkstraße to cheer them on in Kreuzberg. 
The inline skaters on Yorkstraße. Photo: IMAGO / Peter Udo Maurer
  • For a walking only Feine Leute & schnelle Tops tour you can take a leisurely stroll from the start in Tiergarten and along Unter den Linden, stopping off for a coffee on the way before watching the fastest men cross the finish line at around 11.15am. 
  • If cycling is more your speed, you can take a bike tour, watching the runners on Torstraße and the jazz bands at Moritzplatz among other highlights. 
The atmosphere is always noisy and celebratory. Photo: IMAGO / Camera 4

A brief history

The Berlin Marathon has been running since 1974. In that first year there were 244 participants, with only 10 women taking part. Fast forward to 2022 and a staggering 34,788 athletes hit the streets, with 33% female participation (the highest yet).

The Berlin Marathon in 1983. Photo: IMAGO / Michael Schulz

When the city was divided by the Berlin Wall, the race took place exclusively in West Berlin. In the year before reunification, some super keen East German runners competed secretly, registering under false names to avoid recriminations from the East German secret service. On September 30th 1990 athletes were able to run through Brandenburger Tor for the first time in almost 30 years. Nowadays anyone who wants to get involved can do so. 

Whether you’re a seasoned marathon veteran or a curious first timer, we would recommend anyone to come and check out this biggest and most joyous event of Berlin’s sporting year.