Going the distance across Berlin
Picture 145 boats head racing across Berlin, Germany, and you will be able to get an image of the 83rd Race Across Berlin.
This year’s event attracted 900 participants divided predominantly into fours and eights. The boat classes covered a range from juniors through to masters and also some gig boats. These boats raced over a distance of 7km with the gig boats racing 3,800m. Entries came from nine countries including Poland, Denmark and Great Britain and the age of competitors ranged from 10-year-olds through to 75-year-old masters rowers.
This year the fastest boat was the under-23 men’s eight which had a mixture of under-23 champions from 2012 and also a London Olympian (from the men’s pair), Anton Braun. The crew finished in a time of 22:45.39 despite starting in position 141 and thus having to navigate past slower crews.
Weather conditions of wind and cold meant that this winning time was outside of the course record but, despite the weather, about 3,000 spectators still came to watch.
Press officer for Berlin Rowing Michael Hehlke says the regatta now has strong, almost ‘cult’, following and it has become a major event in Berlin Rowing. “The number of participants has been increasing over recent years,” says Hehlke. He believes this phenomenon is due in part to people enjoying coming to Berlin as a popular destination.
On top of the distance of the race, competitors also had to deal with the added challenge of obstacles on this winding course - 13 bridges, tight curves and other boats, as the start was being sent off in 30 second intervals, one boat at a time.
The race goes back to its inception in 1900 when it was a 15km distance.