There was no fooling on April 1, 2007, for the 27th annual Vattenfall Berlin Half-Marathon.
I don’t have the stats for the 2007 field, but in 2006, out of 20,419 participants, 18,531 were runners (including 2,016 from abroad), 1,711 were inline skaters, 22 were handbikers and nine were wheelchair competitors. Additionally, 747 runners participated in the 3.5K Vattenfall FUN-RUN, 536 children aged 10 and under did the Bambini Run and 91 youngsters competed in the Kids Cup. What is most interesting in the context of this blog is that 401 Nordic Walkers covered 6.8 kilometers, close to half of the 13.1-kilometer half-marathon distance. The numbers for 2007 haven’t been released yet, but I’ll be interested in whether the Nordic Walking numbers increased from last year — either in terms of total participation or as a percentage of the field.
Regardless of the precise numbers, the thousands who did take part ran, walked and wheeled past and along some of the most famous landmarks of Germany’s vibrant capital: the Brandenburg Gate, Siegessäule, Charlottenburg Palace, Ku-Damm und Potsdamer Place. The flat course and the modest distance make it a logical first race for new Nordic Walking competitors. A health and fitness expo called Berlin Vital coincided with the race.
P.S. A new posting on RunnersWeb.com on April 3 indicated that the race had 22,048 participants from 70 countries. The website did not yet break down 2007 participants by category, but recapped the 2006 numbers.
An increasing number of serious Nordic Walkers — notably competitive runners whose knees have been giving them problems — are champing at the bit for more Nordic Walking competitions. The Portland (OR) Marathon was the first major US race to include a Nordic Walking category. Fittrek, which sponsors the race’s Nordic Walking World Championship component, is generously disseminating guidelines for race directors — not just for marathons, of course, but applicable for road races of various lengths. These guidelines are in a PDF format. Send the link on to your friendly neighborhood race director or organizer, or print out the guidelines and stick them under his or her nose. Let me know if you get something going.
We all know a few things about Canada and Canadians. Here are two: First, it’s up north, where winters tend be cold and snowy. Second, Canadians know how to have a good time, regardless of the temperature. Now, Nordic Walking is making its way into the winter fun mix.
I just read a press release from Vieux Port Montreal, the city’s historic old port along the frosty St. Lawrence River, cheering the arrival of winter and announcing a weeked-long celebratory event. What brings joy to my Nordic Walker’s heart is that in the midst of of all the expected music, food, anti-freeze beverages and sports booths, the Vieux Port’s promoters write, “Cold outside? We have the perfect cure: get outside and get moving! On Saturday, December 9, warm up with some vigorous Nordic walking and put somecolour in your cheeks during a Cardio Warm-up to the grooves of a Latin beat. You can top off the day nicely with a cocktail at the Bougex.com happening in the impressive Winter Bar… an enormous venue, created entirely of ice!You’ll be in the perfect frame of mind to give traditional group, Les Batinses, a warm welcome, and enjoy a high-energy, two-hour show, punctuatedby the dazzling TELUS Fire on Ice show early in the evening. On the same rink, glide around to the rhythm of dance groves provided by a DJ, until 11:00 p.m. Saturday and 6:00 p.m. Sunday.”
Today is December 9, so I certainly can’t scoot up there to join the merriment — and you probably can’t either, but I am cheered that Nordic Walking is being thought of as part of fun and entertainment — and by people who know all about that.