BIG 25 Berlin - News

A run in aid of worldwide peace and freedom – The FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN premieres on 15th May 2016


Freedom Marathon Berlin
Freedom Marathon Berlin

Two marathons in a single city – probably only possible in the sports metropolis Berlin. The 15th May 2016 (Whitsunday) will witness the inauguration of the FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN, another chance to tackle the 42.195 km distance. Golazo Sports GmbH is teaming up with UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe to hold the event in aid of refugee projects in Syria, Iraq and adjacent countries. Registrations are now open.

With the second marathon to take place on the streets of Berlin, Golazo is adding another distance to Germany’s oldest major street-running event. Until now, runners in the annual BIG 25 fixture have been able to choose between 10 km, 25 km and a half marathon. The FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN will be run over two laps of the half-marathon route, thus saving the authorities the trouble of cordoning off additional stretches of road.

Runners will set off from the Olympic stadium, the traditional starting point. All participants will start at 10am, whether they are entered for 10 km, the half marathon, 25 km or the marathon. For the latter the route follows Reichsstraße, Kaiserdamm, Bismarckstraße, Straße des 17. Juni, through the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and on to Gendarmenmarkt square. From there runners will head along Leipziger Straße, Tiergartenstraße, Kurfürstendamm, Kantstraße and up Neue Kantstraße to Theodor-Heuss-Platz. Then they will curve round onto Kaiserdamm again for the second lap. Once back at Theodor-Heuss-Platz the “Marathonis” will retrace their route along Reichsstraße and Olympische Straße, heading for Coubertinplatz and the finishing line in the Olympic stadium. No runner entering the stadium through the famous marathon gate will forget that moment as long as they live.

The organiser, Golazo Sports GmbH (formerly Berlin läuft! GmbH) is hosting the FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN jointly with UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe. A portion of each runner’s entry fee will go towards alleviating the refugee crisis. There will also be a range of other donation opportunities linked to the event, such as a donations arch located between the 3km and 4km markers on Kaiserdamm.

Runners opting to pass through the donations arch will be registered automatically via their timer chip and a 5-euro donation to the refugee aid organisation will be deducted from their bank account, based on the bank details given at the time of registration. The money will go towards efforts to ease the situation in Syria, Iraq and neighbouring countries. The region is currently the largest generator of, and provider for, refugees.

Bundestag President Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert (CDU) welcomed the FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN initiative: “As patron of UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe I’m very glad to be supporting the Freedom Marathon Berlin - partly because the event will raise urgently needed funds and partly because it will raise awareness of the plight of refugees. The benefit run will bring refugees and local people together, be it as guests, spectators or participants over one or other of the distances. In the capital especially, where thousands of refugees have found respite, this sends an important signal that there is widespread understanding of the newcomers’ situation.”

Golazo Sports Managing Director Gerhard Janetzky: “We are a long-established company with decades of experience organising runs and our aim is always to get as many people as possible on the move. Next year will mark the 36th edition of the BIG 25 Berlin event. Now we’re adding the FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN to the basket of distances to choose from. And the market for street runs is not limited to Berlin, so we expect to attract yet more runners this year.”

Entry fees for the FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN begin at 60 euros (incl. refugee donation) for early bookers. The low price is designed to encourage as many people as possible to embark on the 42.195 km run. The higher the number of starters, the greater the sum donated to UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe. The organisers intend to reduce costs by not signing up world-class athletes to run, with the funds saved also being passed on to refugee projects.

Golazo Managing Director Bob Verbeeck: “We also want the FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN to be a statement in support of peace and freedom in the world. The takings will flow straight into projects in the crisis regions via UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe. Although we haven’t posted a figure to aim for, we obviously want to raise as much money as possible. We definitely hope to be presenting UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe with a handsome cheque after the run on 15th May.”

Actress Friederike Kempter is a supporter of UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe. She has already visited refugee camps in Jordan and is also backing the FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN: “Few of us can really imagine what it’s like to be a refugee. To be uprooted and suddenly have nothing. The Freedom Marathon Berlin is a huge event and a great opportunity for refugees and non-refugees to come into contact. It’s a chance to get rid of prejudice and understand why refugees have made the journey here. Of course, the run is also an excellent opportunity to raise money for life-saving refugee aid. That’s why I’m happy to be involved in the FREEDOM MARATHON BERLIN.”

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