22nd Berliner Wasserbetriebe 5 x 5 km TEAM-Relay from 7 until 9 June 2023

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Runners' story (2): Defy the odds

by Kate Koennecke from Berlin


Kate Könnecke

I am 28 years old, married with three children, work as a translator and have lived in Berlin for almost 7 years. I have been running for around 3 years. Last year, whilst out running we found our way blocked by the marathon. We stopped to watch and very casually discussed participating ourselves. At this point in time I was 5 months pregnant with my third child (still running 10 kilometres a day) and suffering from a congenital brain tumour, affecting my central nervous system.


Two months later, in late November 2004, after the tumour caused the feeling and movement in my right arm and leg to be lost and made walking in a straight line almost impossible,  a second attempt was made to remove the tumour, this time with success. It was whilst lying in hospital that the vague idea of running the marathon began to become a fixed ambition. I was forced to stop running for three months afterwards, until the birth of my daughter early in March 2005. During this period of forced inactivity, I was learning to walk in a straight line again and my stomach was getting enormous, so when I suggested entering the marathon to my running partner she felt secure in saying she’d run if I did too…


In late March 2005, my daughter was 2 weeks old and I could start running again. At first I had difficulty, as my leg didn’t seem to work as it should, but 4 weeks later I was fit enough to take part in the 1/3 marathon in Berlin/Potsdam. After this run, our marathon preparations began in earnest, wearing-out several pairs of running shoes as well as our husbands’ patience. 


I have mentioned my intention to run the marathon to friends and was met with comments along the lines of “you’ll never make it”. Or “you’re insane!” The strangest comment I received was “you can’t run if you’re feeding a baby”. Being incredibly stubborn and needing to prove everyone wrong has spurred me on and made me doubly determined to finish. This is my first marathon and I have not set myself a time goal. I just want to make it over the finish line.


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