I’ll never stop saying it: running while traveling is one of the best ways to get to know a city. It is certainly one of my favorites. The morning after landing in Berlin, I laced up my shoes (Nike Vomero’s for this trip) and took off in the direction of the famed Tiergarten, home of the Bradenburger Tor, most famous for being the finish line of the Berlin Marathon.
Zig zagging through old, cobblestone streets along the Spree river I watched the sun come up over the iconic Berlin TV tower before entering the garten. With endless pathways that cut through the park, I decided to take a fairly conventional route, straight to the Victory Column, to the West end of the park, then hung a left and wrapped around the Berlin Zoo before heading back towards my flat, totaling just over seven miles.
The next morning, I had plans to meet up with one of the #CrushItZone community members. I took it easy the night before, went to bed long before my colleagues who I was rooming with, and once again woke before the sun to greet the cold Berlin morning with my usual gusto!
A quick call with the wife preceded a 1.5 mile warm up to greet my friend, whom up until today I’d never met in person. This is one of the beauties of the online fitness community, incredible people who are welcoming and want to connect when you are in their city. This friend drove in from Hamberg to make the run, and so we settled once again on meeting at the Bradenburg Tor before heading towards the opposite side of the Tiergarten.
Quickly arriving at the far end, we cut out and down along the path that lines either side of the Spree river and started weaving our way along the many government offices adjacent to the path. At one point, my friend signaled a hard right, and then another. We were standing at the steps of the Reichstag building without another soul in sight. Iconic for it’s role in WWII, now rebuilt and viewable by the public via a tall glass dome in the center, the building was impressive for its stature as well as its history. Many times later in the week, our cab would pass by and the expansive lawn would be filled with onlookers, making this sight even more special.
My final run through Berlin, I headed off in the opposite direction towards Volkspark (loosely “People’s park”), with picturesque statues as a tribute to the working class of Berlin. There I found an 800m oval track, asphalt encircled by another one in dirt. Meandering through the garten, out back onto the street I found a nearby stadium which was a welcomed pit stop, as public bathrooms are not as common in Europe as they are in the States…
Gathering my bearings, I found a major street that took me directly back across the former site of the Berlin Wall, crossing what was once East Berlin, back to to the West and finally down Torstraße (Tor street) home, 8.3 miles.
I had planned on one additional run, but a mixture of late nights and long days working to create content as part of a media production team signaled some rest was needed. I’d managed to foil jet lag’s hold during this trip for the most part, but that didn’t mean I was keen to push my luck. A solid rest and one final day meant I’d be back on a plane logging 15 hours on a journey home, which is actually where I’m writing this post from: 38,000 ft, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean!
Trips like this always get me excited about the adventure of discovering new places, meeting new people, but most importantly, getting back home. There’s really nothing better than that for me.