BERLIN Bridge the Gap: Run, Eat, Rave, Repeat

Its been an busy few months in my running calendar, Brighton Half in the bag (just) picking up training again with RDC season 14, running the Berlin Half and cheering both Brighton and London Marathons. My legs have recovered, my voice certainly has not.

Adventures with Cheer Dem Crew is a whole separate post so first things first. The race I’ve been training for since the end of last year. BERLIN!

Suffice to say, I have never been so excited for a race. My first time running abroad, first Bridge the Gap event, first time touring with the wonderful Run Dem Crew. It was like Matric rave all over again (without the dodgy cars and very cheap wine…)

Non running highlights included; Falling in love with Michelberger Hotel (seriously, is this just the hippest hotel in the world?) managing not to get lost on the S Bahn, the U Bahn or shouted at by scary transport police. Walking tours with Melissa, Keelan and Martyn. Binging on street art. Laughing, eating, laughing, and, let us not forget… German breakfasts. Heaven!

Berlin Sunshine Bikes and Bridges
Melissa, Keelan and Martyn. Helping me carb load

Then there was the race. Wow.  At least 60+ RDC runners, and crews from all over Europe (and the US!). I’m guessing all in all around 200 runners from outside of Berlin, all together committing to one race, celebrating what we have in common, what we do differently – sharing ideas, making friends, building community. But that was just the beginning, It got bigger. Post race party, serious business and in reality you had to be there. I don’t think a blog can do it justice.
But there was still the smaller matter of actually running
Run Dem Crew take Berlin
Having made our way to the start line, we met up with our friends and international crew. The brilliant Berlin Braves who were hosting the weekend had laid on a spectacular pre-run breakfast, coffee, pastry, fruit galore! After a few words of inspiration from the crew captains, we kept ourselves busy waiting for the start time to come pinning race numbers, finding last minute vaseline, checking GPS functionality and comparing training highs and lows. 
By 9:50 we were heading towards our start pens, and after a bit of a delay we were finally off! I was thrilled to start off the race with fellow Greyhounds Lemara, Christabel and Amani – another first, actually running with a great women that I have been training with and not freaking out on my own! Having that support, even if you’re not talking to each other throughout, but you can see their shirts nearby made such a difference. And getting the occasional pat on the back as one of the faster crew came through was amazing too. 
The race was hot, by 10K I knew hitting my goal 2:15 was going to be really tough, and I wanted to finish strong, rather than dead. I reduced my pace a fraction, took a couple of shot blocks, threw a few bottles of water  on my head and got on with it. Cheer Dem Crew were coming up at 16km and I knew once I cracked that I could sail to the finish. 
They were amazing. 
Melissa took some wonderful pics of us all coming through. Gives you a flavour of the power of Cheer Dem! 
Power up! Lemara and Christabel
Me! GUNFINGERS!

I crossed the line in 2:20:03 that’s a full EIGHT MINUTES faster than Brighton and it was at least 10 degrees warmer. A new PB and the full ten minutes I wanted off my original PB prior to 2014 races.

Job Done. Nothing left to do but vogue (and smash up the non-alcoholic beer at the finish!)

Hannah and I  take running very seriously
We finished up an unforgettable weekend with an epic after party at the Kantine Berghain. I managed midnight before heading to bed. Lightweight! I am blaming my 10am flight the following morning with a killer 8am check in. 
Huge thanks again to the lovely Melissa for being a brilliant room mate, and to everyone at RDC (especially the man himself Mr Charlie Dark) and the Berlin Braves for THE BEST running weekend this lady has ever had. 
Easily the best race of my running career so far, and its only April. Hackney Half still to come and Royal Parks Half in the Autumn. 
Any other amazing European races I should be entering? Passport is valid. Will travel!

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