42 kilometers on inline skates through the middle of the capital – for some skaters, it is the annual class trip that takes them from the North Sea coast to Berlin, while others travel with like-minded skate enthusiasts from Malmö year after year. And more and more runners are starting to enjoy the variety and are exchanging their running shoes for skates. The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON offers the perfect stage for a wide range of motivations.
From Malmö to Berlin
Many skaters embark on a long journey to participate in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON: for instance the Malmö City skaters, who come to Berlin year after year with an ever-expanding group of Swedes. We talked to 56-year-old Ingo Johansson, who participated for the fifth time in a row in 2017 and describes himself as a true \"fair-weather skater\".
What makes the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON so special for you?
Ingo: It\'s the very special atmosphere that starts at the race number pick-up and the expo, and then moves on to the activities that we do together as a group and culminates at the start and the race, when the Hells Bells of AC / DC ring out, marking that special moment before heading out onto the wide streets and boulevards free of cars and lined with spectators cheering you on. And then of course the finish line and finally the final party, where everyone is simply happy.
How long have you been skating?
In the 1980s, I started out on quad skates. After a long break, I tried inline skating for the first time in 2000. But only after I moved to Malmö did I start skating regularly. I also still quad skate regularly, at Skatenights in Malmö and Copenhagen, for instance. But for the longer distances I use my inline skates.
Would you describe yourself as being ambitious?
I\'m a real fair weather skater! I prefer to go for a good feeling, a comfortable technique and comfortable skates instead of chasing personal bests. I wave to the spectators, I clap for others during the race. At the finish, I\'m happy when my time is better than last year, but that\'s not my main goal. I would not describe myself as being very ambitious, but I love trying different sports and enjoy exercise.
Your club is the Malmö City Skaters. What goals unite you?
We got together a little over five years ago and founded a club. Now we have almost 250 members, with a core of 50 very active skaters. Our club includes skaters from age four to seventy-four. Our main focus is social solidarity and having fun skating, not competition. Everyone who wants to skate is welcome to join us, no matter what level. It does not matter if your goal is cruising the beach, going on long tours or trying to beat Bart Swings.
Do you all prepare for Berlin together?
Our club offers regular training sessions where we do technical exercises and interval training. We also organize joint training weekends. Yann Guyader was here last year and this year Sebastian Baumgartner introduced us to \"Kissing Knees\". We always plan our trip to Berlin together, with one person taking on the main organization each year.
Do you find time to go sightseeing while you are in Berlin?
This year some of us went on a city tour on inline skates after we were done at the Expo BERLIN VITAL, while others went to the Berlin Underworld Museum. Friday evening we all went out together to a restaurant with German cuisine and even tried pork knuckles. So we do find enough time to explore Berlin together.