12 MAR 2004 General News

Mark Milde succeeds his father Horst as race director of the Berlin Marathon

Mark Milde receives the Berlin baton from his father Horst (right) (c)Mark Milde receives the Berlin baton from his father Horst (right) (c) © Copyright

The Real Berlin Marathon has produced a number of unique results in recent years. Among four world records during the last six year there was the first sub 2:20 marathon by a woman and the first sub 2:05 performance by a man. Japan’s Naoko Takahashi clocked 2:19:46 in 2001 and Paul Tergat ran 2:04:55 last September.

Now there is again news from Germany’s most spectacular road race that is quite unique. It was officially announced yesterday evening that the only race director the Berlin Marathon has ever had during its 30 years history would step down and his younger son Mark will take over.

Family tradition

Horst Milde, 65 years old and known as the man who taught Berlin running, has a big share in the development of road running in Germany. It was back in 1964 when he organised the first cross country race in a West Berlin forest. He then continued organising various running events for his club, the SC Charlottenburg Berlin. In 1974 the first Berlin Marathon was started with 286 entries. During the eighties the race became the biggest and best quality marathon in West Germany. After the break down of the Berlin wall in 1989 the race entered the elite group of running events worldwide.

IAAF Award

But it was not only the Berlin Marathon that developed exceptionally well under the direction of Horst Milde. On 4th April the 24th Bewag Berlin Half Marathon will be staged with a field of nearly 20,000 entries. In May the Avon Running Berlin Women’s race is expected to have more than 10,000 runners. And there are a more than a dozen of other running events in Berlin which are all organised by Milde’s
team. SCC Running, the official event organiser, is prodbably the second biggest running events organiser in the world behind the New York Road Runner’s Club. Last year the races in Berlin attracted a record number of nearly 125,000 entries altogether.

During his life Horst Milde has organised 348 running events as race director with a total number of 1.268.649 entries. Probably no other race director worldwide can claim such figures. It was in last November when IAAF President Lamine Diack honoured Horst Milde for his lifetime achievements for athletics with the IAAF Plaque of Merit. In January Milde suffered a slight heart attack but has very well recovered and started jogging soon afterwards.

For a full portrait of Horst Milde click here

Son’s elite success

Horst Milde’s 30 year-old son Mark has already had some remarkable success as a co-organiser of the Berlin races. For nearly six years he has been responsible for the elite field of the races. He signed Naoko Takahashi as well as Paul Tergat. Additionally Mark was the initial organiser of the inline skating events that are staged parallel to some of the running events.

“This is a dream solution for me”, Horst Milde said and added: “It was important for me that the personnel structure of the organisation remains intact. With my son being the new race director and a number of experienced co-organisers in the back I am very optimistic regarding the future developments. It is thus the right time for me to slow down a little bit. But of course I will help and consult the team.” Additionally Horst Milde is now a member of the board of Directors. Among them are for example the medical director Dr. Willi Heepe and the President of the German Sport’s Federation (DSB), Manfred von Richthofen.

"I am looking forward to this new task, which is of course a great challenge for me. It is my goal to continue and further develop the successful work of my father,” said Mark Milde.

Due to his family background Mark had already started working for the marathon as a volunteer when he was a child back in the eighties. He first helped distributing bib numbers and later worked at one of the refreshment stations on the course. When he was still at school he achieved a personal best time of 2:35 minutes at 1000 metres. Later he ran a 2:50:36 marathon in Copenhagen and covered the long triathlon distance in 11:22 hours.

"We are striving for the continuation of the exceptional success of Horst Milde and we want to further improve the position of the Real Berlin Marathon, which already belongs to the small group of the largest and best marathon races in the world”, commented the new managing director Rüdiger Otto. Otto has multiple experience as a managing director since he had such a position in a big Berlin company (Gerling) for 25 years.