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5x5 km TEAM-Staffel

Big and small role models at the Berliner Wasserbetriebe 5 x 5 km TEAM-Relay

Nobel Prize winner for literature William Faulkner said: "Do not try to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself." Even if the rather less sporty Faulkner was not necessarily applying this quote to sport, it can still explain the fascination of relay races.

When you are a part of a relay team, you give your best. After all, it is not only about one's own result, but about pushing the success of the team with one's own performance. The shared experience and possibly even the joint victory – whatever that looks like – is all the more enjoyable. The Berliner Wasserbetriebe 5 x 5 km TEAM-Relay is more about the experience than about winning—or maybe it is both.

Relay trilogy by SCC EVENTS

For more than two decades, Germany's largest relay race, organised by SCC EVENTS, has enjoyed growing popularity. Always at the beginning of June, over a thousand teams start on three consecutive days in the green grounds of Tiergarten part near the Strasse des 17. Juni. June 7, 2023 was the start of the relay trilogy 2023, and as usual the youngest were allowed to perform first.

Challenging handover in the transition zonee @ SCC EVENTS / Petko Beier
Challenging handover in the transition zone

The stage for the youngsters

The bambini got things off to a great start. At 6 p.m., they bravely took on the 800m course. Prof. Dr. Christoph Donner, the enthusiastic chairman of Berliner Wasserbetriebe gave the starting signal. The races with the youngsters are always of special importance for the organiser SCC EVENTS, not only to encourage the kids to get exercise, but also to promote social togetherness.

These days, when the subways are filled in the morning with school kids staring at their phones and idolizing self-proclaimed kings, shared sport provides an almost essential antithesis to the isolating screen time.

When Robert calls

For the adults, the starting signal was fired half an hour later to send them out on their 5 x 5 km. One of the countless relay teams on the lawn next to the Federal Chancellery was registered under the name "Berlins große Vorbilder” (Berlin’s great role models).

Robert is responsible for the colourful bunch, which has been taking part for a decade and a half, sometimes in larger, sometimes in smaller numbers. Most of the team members who followed Robert’s call to action came from Berlin, but they have also come from Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.

Experiencing sport together

What unites Berlin’s great role models is, of course, their enthusiasm for running. They have had everyone from ultra-athletes to 5K joggers in their ranks. But togetherness is also an important part of their relay. "Berlin's great role models" are more known for being among the last ones on the course than for running at the front. They celebrate the running festivals with whatever they bring—as they should, especially in times like these.

The common joy of movement was also the focus in 2023, in the background the Reichstag @ SCC EVENTS / Petko Beier
The common joy of movement was also the focus in 2023.

Medals of their own creation

Berlin's great role models usually represent with several teams in the Tiergarten. And to honour this, team leader Robert does an internal ranking. The runners of the winning team receive extra medals from him – self-made, mind you.

Rather than waiting for someone else to provide entertainment, Berlin's great role models simply do it themselves. Not that this is necessary at the Berliner Wasserbetriebe 5 x 5 km TEAM-Relay, but as the owner of an event agency, Robert just can't help himself. The oversized relay mascot in the form of a fantasy doll is also self-made.

After a simple balloon was discarded as insufficient at the very first event they participated in, the doll now has to do the job, which won the prize for providing the most creative exchange this year.

Emotional times

If you believe the doctor and writer Peter Bamm, "Sport is a reasonable attempt by modern man to artificially procure exertion for himself". Berlin's great role models rewarded themselves for their exertions by imbibing more hypertonic hop-based refreshments until well past the finish—while in Ukraine the water levels were rising after a dam collapsed in the Kherson region.

Tomorrow, the Berlin relay fun continues, including more exciting reporting about the participants, winners’ times and atmosphere (also about the results of the first day). Today, we allowed a little space for some thoughtful reflection.