The Heritage Plaque, which was awarded in the joint categories of "City" and "Competition", recognizes Berlin's rich athletics history, which includes the first organized running events in the 1890s and the founding of the BERLIN-MARATHON in 1974. "World Athletics is delighted to recognize the outstanding contribution of the city of Berlin and the BERLIN-MARATHON to the history and development of international athletics with the awarding of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque," confirmed World Athletics President Sebastian Coe in a video message.
"The plaque honors more than 130 years of organized athletics and running events in Berlin. Of particular note is that Berlin hosted the second Congress in the history of our federation in 1913 and the city is only one of nine to have hosted the Summer Olympics and the World Athletics Championships. On both these occasions, Berlin's Olympic Stadium provided the dramatic stage for the legendary triumphs of Jesse Owens and Usain Bolt.
At the center of the city's running history is the annual BERLIN-MARATHON, which was founded by running enthusiast Horst Milde. As race director for the first three decades, Horst Milde established the BERLIN-MARATHON's international reputation for organizational perfection. With more than 40,000 finishers per year, the BERLIN-MARATHON is one of the largest mass-participation road races in the world.
The flat, fast course in the city attracts the world's best runners. Twenty years after Paul Tergat ran the first marathon under 2:05 hours, the men's world record was broken seven more times on Berlin's streets. The first women also ran under 2:20 hours in Berlin and broke the 2:12:00 barrier just a few weeks ago. A total of 13 world records have been set here since 1974. With today's awarding of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque, we are honoring Berlin's historic place in the history of our sport," concluded Coe.
The World Athletics Heritage Plaque is a place-based award given for an outstanding contribution to the global history and development of athletics and athletics disciplines outside the stadiums, such as cross-country, mountain running, road running, trail running, ultra running and walking. The plaque was presented to Mayor Wegner and Horst Milde in Berlin's Rotes Rathaus by World Athletics Heritage Director Chris Turner in the presence of guests from the city as well as representatives of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON and the German Athletics Association (DLV). The plaque will be on permanent public display in the Rotes Rathaus.
Kai Wegner, Governing Mayor of Berlin, said: "World Athletics, the world governing body of athletics, has awarded the World Athletics Heritage Plaque to Berlin and the BERLIN-MARATHON. This is a great honor for Berlin as a sports-loving city. Above all, it is a recognition of the great enthusiasm of many Berliners who have contributed to the success story of this internationally renowned sporting event for decades through their voluntary commitment. Berlin would like to thank World Athletics and its President Sebastian Coe for this very special appreciation."
Horst Milde, founder of the BERLIN-MARATHON: "The awarding of the Heritage Plaque by World Athletics to the BERLIN-MARATHON, which has now been running for almost 50 years, is a great and significant honor for the organizing team, the SCC Berlin club, the many volunteers and for me. It is both high praise and an incentive for the future. We are delighted to receive this prestigious award, recognition and appreciation and would like to thank you for the Heritage Plaque, which will be given a worthy place of remembrance in the city hall. History obliges - the tradition and the great history of running in this city are both present and future. Only through the further development of sport, athletics and the preservation of the health of the population can we do justice to this."
Jürgen Lock, in his role as one of the two long-standing managing directors of SCC EVENTS, added: "As an organizer of sporting events such as the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, SCC EVENTS is honored to have received this award. The BERLIN-MARATHON was founded by Horst Milde in 1974 and, after his handover in 2004, was successfully led to the top international level by our team of directors and managers. 85 employees keep an eye on the future of running with the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON and 15 other SCC EVENTS events with their great expertise and team performance. The award is above all a tribute to our team, which lives with consistency and innovation every day."