A record 10,528 runners at the 20th AVON Women
Large women and family running fest in the Tiergarten park between the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate
2003-05-26The organisers from SCC-RUNNING received the best present for 20th anniversary of the AVON Womens Run from the participants themselves:
With 10,528 runners (5,135 for the 5 km race, 4,704 for the 10 km, and 689 Bambinis) from 44 countries, the Berlin event broke the barrier of 10,000 for the first time. About 18,000 spectators lined the start and finish, and the runners were motivated by rows of applauding spectators (husbands, children, friends) within the park. The women and family running fest brought together participants starting with under-2-year-olds at the bambini race to an 80-year-old walker at the 5 km FUN RUN.
It was a long way to this - for Germany - unique record participation. The 1st AVON Womens Run took place on May 31, 1984, on “Fathers Day“, with 645 runners and start and finish at the same place in the Tiergarten. Charlotte Teske won the 10 km race then.
Germanys largest womens race between the Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate, Bellevue Palace and within view of the Federal Chancellery and Reichstag was demanding. The sudden change of temperature to above 28° C made the running conditions more difficult—the boulevard Straße des 17. Juni was completely in the sun, while luckily the paths in the Tiergarten were still damp and cooler from the previous rainy days.
The courses varied for the 5 km and 10 km races, which were chosen and carefully measured by the course scout, John Kunkeler. They led along the most idyllic and beautiful paths past small lakes and streams, over bridges and past memorials such as “Queen Louise“ and “The Amazons“. Diverse samba and jazz bands provided music in the park and along the streets. More unpleasant, however, were the clouds of smoke of the many Berliners enjoying their unchanged weekend ritual of grilling in the park.
The bambini runners (courses between 480 m and ca. 800 m), had their own new experience, as they were able to cross the official finish line under the applause of the many spectators. The youngest were under 2 years–some holding on tight to their mom and dads hands—or even carried across the finish line—where they received a medal, a certificate, and the nice prized present from AVON.
5,135 participants lined the start of the FUN-RUN (5 km), including 1,986 girls from the Berlin schools. The new trend of walking could be seen here, by many young and even more older women. For the first time a Nordic walker could be seen at a race (walking using poles). Accompanied by lively music, the announcer Dr. Karsten Holland motivated the spectators to get involved—cheering and rhythmic hand waving greeted and motivated the runners across the finish. There were a few spots in the Tiergarten along the 5 km run that were too narrow and will have to be changed for next years course. The winner of the FUN RUN was Cathleen Thiele (Polizei SV Berlin) in 19:31 ahead of Angelika Ehebracht (Potsdamer SC) 19:35 and Bianka Buß (19:37).
Maite Kelly, a member of the famous “Kelly Family“, together with the chairman of AVON, Thomas F. Kelly, started the 10 km race (4,704 runners). Maite Kelly then joined in the race herself –and finished—and she promised that she will be back again and in better form next year. The 10 km race was exciting and dramatic as well, for the leading runners did not take it easy in the heat and run a tactical race, but rather went all out! The two-time winner of the AVON Run (2000 and 2002) Kathrin Weßel (SCC Berlin) led the 4-women lead group (Sonja Oberem (Leverkusen), Carmen Siewert (Greifswald) and the petit and unexpected starter, the 22-year-old Lenah Cheruiyot (Kenia) from the start. Kathrin Dörre-Heinig, who won the Berlin Marathon and the AVON Run in 1992, was back a bit. She is just starting to get back into training, and could thus be satisfied with her performance.
Sonja Oberem (3rd in the marathon at the European Championships in Munich) was the most active in the field, always keeping the speed up and running at the front. It was only at the last 2 kilometres that Lenah Cheruiyot suddenly moved to the lead as Sonja Oberem had some water. Sonja Oberem tried to catch up again, but she felt the too fast pace and ended up paying tribute to Kathrin Weßel in the final sprint as well. Carmen Siewert (Greifswald) also ran a strong race, and Melanie Kraus (Leverkusen) was not unhappy with her 6th place finish. 1. Lenah Cheruiyot (KEN) 33:26 – 2. Kathrin Weßel (SCC Berlin) 33:24 – 3. Sonja Oberem (LG Bayer Leverkusen) 33:39 – 4. Carmen Siewert (Greifswald) 34:50 – 5. Kathrin Dörre-Heinig (LAC Veltins Hochsauerland) 36.12 – Melanie Kraus (LG Bayer Leverkusen) 36:28 -
“Weve met our goals – after 20 years – to finally have a 5 digit number of women runners at the start. We hope that this success sends out a strong signal for the further valuation of womens sports with running, jogging, walking – and also Nordic walking“, summed up Horst Milde, the team leader of SCC RUNNING with satisfaction.
The future for next year is secured again through the strong partners, adidas and KarstadtSport, and of course AVON will be back as the main sponsor in Berlin again, too.
Further results and photos can be found in the internet at: www.berlin-marathon.com
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