Dhe few day trippers who came across groups of runners on Sunday morning in Rauchfangswerder in the southeast of Berlin may have been surprised. There was no sign of relaxed jogging or eager kilometer eating, as is currently practiced everywhere in the ongoing corona crisis and increasingly summer climate. Runners seemed to be sprinting on the densely forested Dahme peninsula on the water border of Berlin to Brandenburg, in the middle of a lonely, straight road into nothing.
A car with a digital time display and a motorcycle drove ahead of the crowd of ten or eleven athletes on the Schmöckwitzer Damm. Cyclists hunted with them, and on the street, adhesive tape was used to mark a starting field with boxes, some distances and a destination that the driver of the bus commuting there had promised to keep clear. That was important because the line was right in front of the bus stop in the middle of the forest.
Drivers respectfully waited until a folder with mouth-nose protection pointed out that the road was clear and not closed. Sometimes they stopped until a friendly gentleman with a mustache under the corona protection sent runners with a push from the compressed air siren.
On Friday, the website of German Road Races cryptically announced record attempts by Alina Reh and Amanal Petros over five kilometers. “In order to avoid crowds of spectators in view of the Corona crisis and the applicable protection regulations,” it said, “neither the time and place of the race can be published.” Those who remembered that a handful of Berlin running fanatics used the 10K Berlin Invitational ”on Rauchfangswerder, could have guessed that the route had proven itself.
“I jumped up as soon as I heard about it,” said Salzburg marathon runner Peter Herzog at the finish at the bus stop. “In Corona times, you like to take any route.” The result of the distance, which he runs more than eight times in a row for professional reasons, 13:54 minutes, was his first this year and the only record of the day, the Austrian one.
Irina Mikitenko, the long-ruled ruler of the German road race, and the man with the horn remain in possession of the German best times. It ran twice 15:16 ten years ago on the track, on which international records have only been set since 2019. Jens-Peter Herold, Olympic third place over 1500 meters from Seoul in 1988, needed 14:09 in 1990 for the distance. “I was off my feet when I heard that I was still the record holder with this time,” he said. The invitation to participate in the secret race as a starter should have been all the more beautiful since Herold took the best time from which he should say goodbye back home to Neuruppin.
Alina Reh is disappointed
Alina Reh and Amanal Petros did not come close to their goals. The runner from the Swabian Jura, first in 15:22 minutes, complained: “I risked something and it didn’t work out completely. I am extremely disappointed. ”Five weeks ago, ten kilometers back and forth on the Schmöckwitzer Damm, she was triumphantly involved in the return of the road race from the lockdown and won in 31:26 minutes. Since then she has been training harder than ever with her new trainer André Höhne.
Nevertheless – or precisely because of this – on Sunday the last of the five kilometers suddenly ended with optimism and fast running. “A few weeks ago I ran faster in training,” said Alina Reh, “and it felt a lot more relaxed.” Now she had dared to do less than 15 minutes and was therefore quick to tackle, she said helplessly. In two weeks she will try to be that fast on the train in Regensburg. Petros, on the other hand, fourth in 14:17 minutes, said that the loss of championships and races would have cost him discipline and ambition. At times he slept until ten o’clock and only ran forty kilometers a week – a quarter of what Alina Reh is currently doing. Rauchfangswerder also showed him where he was standing.