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J273 - Friday, July 16: Hohen Neuendorf – Nächst-Neuendorf

74 .17km  – 09H02’
Altitude : 33 m
A surprising time of 9H02’, because it is indeed the time clocked for the day’s race; Serge stopped his watch during the pauses and photo shoots in Berlin.  So he kept his average time in spite of extreme heat…the heat wave continues.
Daniel and Arlette get quick start and are immediately in the thick of things.  The thermometer in the van reads 43°C; it is also the outside temperature in the sun!!!
Traffic was heavy but there were no traffic jams on this Friday afternoon.  We are lucky to be here during school vacation and just general vacation; what a relief!
Tracing today’s itinerary, it looks like the number 4, as we come down from the North on route 96.
Since I had not been in Berlin when there was the Wall, it is difficult for me to imagine that it ever existed, because all trace of it has been wiped from the scene.  There are a few monuments and tablets to commemorate this human folly (I don’t understand how the different governments, among which the French, could agree to this thing, even in the post-war context).  So between 1961 and 1989 West Berlin was a small island lost in the ex-German Democratic Republic.  Peter told us a story about this.  He lived in West Germany and the trip overland to the GDR once took him 10 hours.
Serge took off around 7H30 with the members of the LG Nord Berlin Club: Peter, Jürgen Baldow, Günther Hallas, Michael Brandt and Mr. Franz Balzer, Mayor of Reinickendorf-Berlin.  We make our first stop in the forest because Peter wishes to show us an old watch tower at the foot of a path buried in vegetation, which served as an observation point for 3 guards who watched the border between West Berlin and the ex-GDR.  It has been left there to serve as a …Lest we forget… for the younger generation.
A world about Günter Hallas, age 68.  He won the very first Berlin Marathon in 1974.  Since then, he has never stopped running and he has participated in 35 of the 37 Berlin Marathons.
Our second stop was at the town hall of Reinickendorf-Berlin.  After jogging 12 km the Mayor presented Serge with the municipality’s medal (his district) and each of us received a book.
We head in the direction of Charlottenburg, to the west of Berlin, skirting Tegel airport from which Eliane and Bérengère will leave.
From Charlottenburg we trace a long, straight line, passing by the Tiergarten, the famous Brandenburg Gate, the no less famous Unter den Linden boulevard, which leads to Alexander Platz, then we return to Postamer Platz before heading due south toward Zossen.
It is a beautiful city and as in Copenhagen the works don’t bother the numerous tourists who have come to visit Berlin.
Some runners stop, others join us, such as Klaus Hartmann from LG Nord Berlin Club, who finishes the stage.
There are lots of encounters; Peter with his « Sidewalker  Scooter»  traces the itinerary all day and Michael Brandt accompanies Serge for the entire stage.  Among other things, Michael is getting ready for the Sparathlon, a race in which he has already participated 9 times and finished 6.  We wish him luck.
And lastly, we would like to thank the « Berolina…das Schriftbild » Company who, thanks to Peter, is providing hotel accommodation and breakfast in Zossen this evening.
Peter is fantastic !  A retired professor of mathematics and physics, it is he who made our passage through Berlin and event.  Our thanks go to this sportsman who loves long distance challenges and  has a long list of beautiful races to his credit, on bike, on foot and now on “Sidewalker Scooter”.

Town : Nächst-Neuendorf

GPS : N 52.13’57.3° E 013.24’38.4°