Six world records have been set at the Berlin Marathon since 1998 -- more than any other marathon. In 2001, Naoko Takahashi of Japan became the first woman to break the 2:20 barrier when she finished in 2:19:46. In 2008, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia set the world mark that's still standing as of this writing (2:03:59), breaking his own record from the 2007 event. There was much anticipation for Gebrselassie's performance in the 2009 Berlin Marathon, but he fell off pace late in the race and finished in 2:06:08. But don't be too disappointed for him: He still won the marathon for the fourth year in a row (making him the race's first four-peater) -- and broke the 30-kilometer world record along the way.
Three other runners -- Germany's Ingo Sensburg and Uta Pippig and Poland's Renata Kokowska -- have won the Berlin Marathon three times. Gunter Hallas, who won the inaugural marathon in 1974, still runs it every year.
The men's and women's winners each get $64,000 for their efforts, and the remainder of the $340,000 pot is divvied up among other top finishers [source: World Marathon Majors]. There are separate awards for the inline skating, wheelchair and handcycle events. The rest of the pack receives medals -- and the knowledge that they just ran 26.2 miles without collapsing, which is no small feat.
Think you have what it takes to run the Berlin Marathon? We have more information about the race -- and marathons in general -- on the next page.