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30 Years of the BERLIN MARATHON – Changes in Running Literature

An Exhibit


From September 25-27 at the marathon fair under the Funkturm radio tower, there will be an exhibit under the motto of “30 Years of the BERLIN MARATHON – Changes in Running Literature“, in which books about running from the past 3 decades will be displayed. There are now several hundred books alone in German about running in general, as well as specifically about marathons. They have all played their part in the medial popularisation of running, making it the number one leisure sport activity in Germany. While early works on running were dedicated solely to training for serious runners, in the early 1970s through the “Trimm-Dich“ (Get Fit) programme of the German Sporting Association (Deutscher Sportbund), there was a kind of popularisation of running literature which has continued on to today, with a recent dynamic increase.

If one tries to differentiate the voluminous palette of running books according to their literary genre, one category must still be training guides (for everyone). A classic in this category is still “Marathon Training“ (published by Hermann Schmidt, Mainz) by Manfred Steffny from the year 1977, which is now on sale in its new completely revised 14th edition. But there are also numerous reports, illustrated works, running travel guides, and even novels and lyrical poetry about running. A limited selection of old and new running books from the past 30 years can be seen in the extra glass display cases in the hallway between Hall 22a and Hall 22c (near the sport medicine area) on the fairgrounds. The exhibit is from the personal collections of Race Director Horst Milde and the head of the marathons department of culture, Dr. Detlef Kuhlmann, who has also been overseeing the literary marathon at the BERLIN MARATHON since 1990.

The BERLIN MARATHON itself has become a “literary great“. In a preliminary search, over 30 references in German language books have been discovered. These include several works dedicated completely to the BERLIN MARATHON, such as the 79-page course description with the title of “Embarking on the Berlin Marathon. Experiences of a Passionate Long Distance Runner“ (published in 2001 by the Frieling-Verlag, Berlin) by a middle school teacher from Bremerhaven, Eberhard Pfleiderer. The most prominent literary avowal to the BERLIN MARATHON is from the Munich author and runner, Günter Herburger, who dedicated numerous pages to the BERLIN MARATHON (which he ran in a very respectable 3:04:42h) in his book “Lauf und Wahn“ (Running and Madness), which was first published in 1988 (by Luchterhand Literaturverlag, Darmstadt).

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