Gotta Love Leipzig (about: 2004)|
R. D. from Maine, USA (5/4/04)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Leipzig Marathon
Leipzig is a lovely old city that is being considered for the site of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Consequently, the race organizers seemed to use the 2004 Leipzig Marathon as a way of promoting the city and demonstrating to the Olympic Selection Committee that they can run a world-class sports event. They were successful. With about 1000 running the full marathon and another 500 or so the half, the field was a manageable size.
The expo, number and chip pick-up, race start and finish were never crowded. Organization was good. The course was mostly flat and weather excellent. Crowds were sparse but those that did turn out were quite enthusiastic. The only two negatives were 1) the pasta dinner, included in your entry fee, was HORRIBLE. I don't usually include the pasta dinner in my marathon plans, but tried this one, and what a waste of time. A styrofoam bowl of mushy noodles and watered down tomato sauce was worse than nothing as runners spent time traveling to the Leipzig Arena, partially filling up on lousy food, then ruining an opportunity for a truly fine meal in this city with good restaurants. Really, it would be better if there was no pasta dinner.
Also, there were a lot of bicycles on the course that were sometimes in the way. I don't know of a practical way to prevent this as bikes are a favorite mode of transport for a lot of Leipzigers, and the race takes place on public roads... so??? By the way, the majority of roads were completely shut down to traffic, another plus.
One last thought: Leipzig, like the rest of the former East Germany has suffered enormous unemployment since reunification with the West. To make matters worse, Germany has been struggling with a poor economy the last 3 years, and the East has been hit the hardest. A city of 500,000, Leipzig has lost an amazing 100,000 jobs since 2001. It has resulted in a huge population drain with many, many abandoned and vacant buildings in the city center. It is sad to see such gracious people, and a lovely city struggling under the weight of a poor economy. In my book, another reason to spend some time and money in Leipzig and run an excellent marathon in the process.