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10/08/13

A Newcomer to Berlin

My experiences of working and skating with Rollerblade at the 2013 Berlin Skate Marathon - by Joel Robinson

 

This year I had the privilege of joining some of the European staff members of Rollerblade at the 2013 BMW Berlin Marathon, and we came together from all our corners of the globe for an exciting and busy few days of working hard, skating hard, and finally, partying hard.
 

My first day on the job was on Thursday 26/09 when we pulled up at the old Tempelhof Airport to set up at the marathon exhibition.  When I jumped out of the taxi I had to run quickly inside as there was a mist of cold rain swirling around the airport. Also, later that morning as I was setting up Rollerblade banners outside the exhibition I felt the chill of rain penetrate to my bones.  I remember thinking that the weather had better improve by Saturday or skating was going to be painful - you see us Brits are always thinking about the weather!

 

But things did change, and as the day moved on and stalls, shops and cafes started to spring up and take shape all around the airport, the sun also started to take shape in the patchy sky and we began to dry out. 

 

After all the setting up was complete we braced ourselves as the crowds started to pour into the expo for the first time - ready to snatch up some great deals and rub shoulders with other like-minded skaters and runners from all over the world.   The atmosphere was buzzing in the historic Tempelhof Airport that day, brought to life by the hustle and bustle of crowds.

 

At the expo the Rollerblade team had a number of stands set up for various purposes: for selling the latest skating equipment, for skate maintenance and repairs, and also a cool chillout area to hang out with friends and customers.  My job that day was to man the wheel of fortune (or Glücksrad in German) and with my broken Deutsch I managed to hand out lots of cool prizes to beaming Rollerblade fans.  These great prizes consisted of sunglasses, water-bottles, and the jackpot: an exclusive Rollerblade T-shirt.  It was good fun and the hall was soon filled with people bumping into each as a result of wearing the sunglasses. 

 

The festivities took place for one more day after that at Tempelhof, and late on Friday night we packed up shop, ready for the big move.  Early the next morning, the day of the skating marathon, we transported all of our equipment and stalls to the famous Brandenburg gate, an important landmark in Berlin, and began to unpack again. 

 

Friday morning followed a similar format to the others, but this time with a greater air of excitement as skaters busily prepared themselves for the big race.  Once again people approached the Glücksrad stand to try and win some sunglasses, but this time because the sky was blue and the sun was blazing – perfect weather as the event approached, but would it hold out?  

 

The afternoon finally arrived and so it was time for the staff from Rollerblade, including me, to abandon their stalls, strap on their skates, put on their tight-tops and helmets, and make their way to start with 6,300 other skaters.  Along with this being my first time to Berlin this was also my first time taking part in a skate-marathon, and it was a strange sensation being packed together with so many other skaters all ready to spill out onto the streets of Berlin – a bit like trapped animals ready to be released into the wild. 

 

We waited at the start-line to be released.

The gun suddenly went off and we set forth as a pack into the unknown , my Tempest 100’s serving me well, helping me to dart in and out of the thousands all around me.  Then finally, 1 hour (and a lot of minutes) later I crossed the 42km mark and rolled back to base - finished, hungry and wobbly-legged.  It was a great feeling to have survived my first marathon and I definitely hope to make it back next year to knock at least 10 minutes off my time… and to try and grab a cup of water without spilling it.

 

That evening quickly became night, and that meant it was time to celebrate and party.  We went to a fun spot in the city along with lots of other competitors from the event, and danced the night away – our wobbly legs helping us to dance even better!

 

All in all it was a great time for me at Berlin.  I got to take part in my first ever marathon and got work with some cool people from many different nations.   The weather was pretty good too!
 

 

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