Try Skating and get Scotland rolling

Andrew and Nicky Dennison are the.....

Scotia Skaters at the Berlin Marathon 2011



From Beginners on Skates to the Brandenberg Gate in 8 Months                                        

Last year our friends invited us to join them in running the Berlin marathon. We had previously ran the Great North Run half marathon which we had greatly enjoyed but we felt the full 26 miles of running wasn’t for us. However we found out that there was an inline skating marathon the day before which sounded much more fun! Berlin has ideal conditions for running and skating as it is relatively flat with amazing sights along the course.

We both purchased some skates at the beginning of the year and once the Edinburgh snow melted we started trying to get out and practise. We found the best place in Edinburgh to be along the coast at Cramond which we became very familiar with in wind, rain, and on occasion some sun! After a few weeks of flailing arms and several falls (thankfully no injuries) we realised we needed some proper instruction in skating, particularly on how to brake! At this point we were seriously doubting that the Berlin marathon would be achievable. We searched on the internet and came across 

We had our first lesson with Don in April and this proved to be the turning point in our training. After subsequent lessons our confidence improved and we became a lot more efficient. Don also introduced us to some new skating areas including Bellahouston (we later used the velodrome here often), Glasgow Green and Lochwinnoch. 

We decided it would be good to have some experience of skating amongst others and signed up for the Goodwood marathon in August along with Don and some of the Scotia Skater team. This had a fantastic atmosphere with inline skaters, roller derby girls and skateboarders all taking part. It was nice to finally meet so many other skaters of all abilities and after doing this we felt more comfortable about the challenge ahead in Berlin.   

A and N Berlin 2011 a
                Heading for the start

We arrived in Berlin the day before the skating marathon and after finding our accommodation headed to the marathon expo to register. This had a great atmosphere and was a good place to see and try the latest skates. We saw a lot of professional looking skaters! We were given plenty of useful information and advice and it was well organised. Thankfully there were lots of English speakers on hand to help us. 

A and N Berlin 2011         

We love sunny Berlin

The race started at 3.30pm on a beautiful, sunny and wind free day. They were playing inspirational music at the start line as all 6500 skaters assembled. We were in the final start block designated the “party group”, feeling a bit daunted as many fully lycra clad people assembled in front of us! Thankfully as it approached our start time more new skaters like us appeared including a few fellow British skaters and we slowly rolled forwards to the start line.

Then we were off! Initially it was quite bunched up and slow but soon we started spreading out and had a lot more space. For the most part the course was lovely and smooth and very enjoyable. There were a few turns but these were well signposted and skaters ahead would warn us of these with hand signals which we also passed on. The main hazard we found was 3 or 4 sections of crossing tram lines at right angles which caused a lot of juddering and the odd wobble! Thankfully we had no falls however. At a few straight sections we formed a miniature pace line (usually just the two of us, occasionally a few others joined in!). Along the way supporters would give us encouragement and shout our names which had been cleverly printed onto our race number by the event organisers. This really helped. From kilometre 31 there were markers every 2 kilometres and the crowd got bigger and bigger. Eventually we saw the Brandenburg gate looming in the distance and knew we were almost finished. With much happiness we rolled over the line with the same time of 2 hours 24 minutes 40 seconds and picked up our medals with great pride!

Special thanks to Don Morton for his invaluable lessons and advice over the last few months without which it would not have been possible for us to do this! 

Nicky Andrew Berlin
Medals bring smiles