Memories of my first “long“ race in the fall of 1974
40 YEARS OF RACING HISTORY 20 Years Womens Run – 30 Years BERLIN-MARATHON – 40 Years Berlin Cross Country Race Part 4 of our look into the “History Box“ of the development of running in Berlin:
Running women a marathon was relatively unusual in 1974. Of 244 participants through the finish of the 1st Berlin Peoples Marathon, only 9 were women. Jutta von Haase, with a time of 3:22:01, took 44th place in the total results of the Peoples Marathon. The first women champion of the BERLIN-MARATHON in 1974, she was already an established and successful middle distance runner with the club Z 88 (LG Süd). In the Deutschlandhalle in 1970, she was the German indoor champion in the 1500m with a time of 4:23,7, was numerously German runner up in the 800m.
Her personal bests are 2:06.2 (1968) for the 800 m, 4:22.8 (1970) for the 1500m, and 2:53:43! (1983) for the marathon.. She also won the 3rd BERLIN-MARATHON in 3:05:19 in 1976. In her professional work, she is the presiding judge at the administrative court in Berlin, currently on leave as part of a part-time retirement plan. We wish her good health and all the best for the future. For years she was listed in the records of BERLIN-MARATHON victors as being a three-time champion.
During the 30-year anniversary it was discovered that it was “only“ 2 victories. Uta Pippig (1990/Stuttgart and 1992 and 1995/SCC Berlin) and Renata Kokowska (POL) 1988, 1991 and 1993 head the list of women champions with three wins each, ahead of Jutta von Haase and Ursula Blaschke (SCC Berlin), who each have 2 wins.
I truly was not born as a runner, at least not as one who in the distant future was to overcome long distances. If a runner, than more likely a sprinter, as I was quite successful as during my school days over short distances (but only at school sporting events). My path to the longer distances also occurred through school sport, after running a 1000 m race together with “the boys“, all but one of whom I passed. That was my “birth“ as a middle distance runner. Compared to conditions today, that very meek training over longer distances brought with it that I gave up my specialty of passing the baton and with great pleasure ran countless rounds of the track, and most of all discovered the Grunewald Forest as a wonderful running location.
When the first BERLIN PEOPLES MARATHON took place on October 13, 1974, not only did I have my successful days as a middle distance runner behind me, I had actually ended my running career. I did, however, continue to run with pleasure around the Grunewald Lake or wherever I had the opportunity. Knowing I had good endurance, it greatly appealed to me to take on the marathon adventure, which was seemed unusual at the time, as there were no competitions longer than 1500 m for us, "the weaker sex". When I appeared at one of the preparation training runs at the Mommsen Stadium, the organisers were very astounded. I remember the flabbergasted question of the running enthusiast Fritz “Bubi“ Orlowski (then trainer in SCC), if I seriously wanted to run with them. It sounded something like this: "Jutta, you???? Do you really want to run with us?"
Jutta von Haase with Bernd Hübner after the first round of the marathon at Mommsentadion, 1974
I said that I wanted to try – a 20 km run was planned. When I kept up with the front all the way to the end of this run, I had convinced the sceptical ones and from then on enjoyed a truly friendly interest in my long distance attempts.
The marathon on October 14, 1974 took place under perfect weather conditions – not too warm and not too cold. I still ran with long pants and a long-sleeved sport shirt. Unlike it has now been for many years, where thousands line the streets, the race took place, so to say, on the periphery; the start and finish were at Mommsen Stadium, and as well as I can remember, the course that went to about the Wannsee beach had to be rounded twice. The spectators could be counted on a few hands, and only at the start and finish were there more people cheering the runners on for the second round. Just as inexperienced as most of the participants as to how one should best overcome the long course, I started out "comfortably".
Only after the first half did I decide to say goodbye to the friend with whom I was running, as he wanted to slow down and I wanted to do the opposite. That I was successful is shown in my final time of 3:22:01. I was certainly very proud of what I had accomplished, especially since the most I had ever run, and that only a few times, was about 20 km. The prize was a certificate and a bronze picture given by the district office of Charlottenburg – a photo shows my satisfaction. I recently looked again at the photo and the certificate with great pleasure. The photo shows my – compared with today – totally incorrect running gear (much too think and heavy). Well, yes, it was fun anyway and made me want to repeat the experience (with considerably faster times with relatively little training).
That the race did not "sufficiently" exhaust me was shown by my activities the rest of that day: after an impressive visit to the industrial exhibition in the trade fair halls (long out of existence) that afternoon, I spent the evening at a concert at the Philharmonic Orchestra. There was not a trace of tiredness at the very nice concert. But I did get such sore muscles that I was only able to get down the steps from the concert hall to the foyer at the end by walking down backwards. That doesn surprise me any more today. It never happened again at any later races.
After "tasting blood" at the 1st BERLIN PEOPLES MARATHON, as it was officially called, I participated in numerous other long distance races, including other marathons, with success. I could tell lots of stories. I look back at the "first" one with the greatest pleasure. However, from an athletic standpoint, my victory in the age group W40 at age 44 at the 10th BERLIN- MARATHON in 1983 with a time of 2:53 was more impressive.
Since 1986, I can only be found as a spectator along the course, cheering on friends and all the participants. My very slight consideration whether or not I should use this years anniversary to make a very slow "comeback" has been dropped–I will be on a trip at the time.
I wish the organisers and all the (hopefully well-trained and prepared) runners much fun and success.
Jutta von Haase, July 2003
PS: Jutta von Haase also won the 3rd BERLIN-MARATHON in 1976 in 3:05:19. She forgot to mention it in the rush!