Melfort runner represents Saskatchewan at historic Berlin Marathon

Submitted Photo. Robyn Luthi has completed the Berlin Marathon after running the race on Sunday, Sept. 25.

A Melfort runner is closer to her goal of competing in all six of the Abbot World Marathon Majors.

Robyn Luthi completed a personal best time when she competed in the BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25.

Along with her personal best she was on the course when a new world record was set. Luthi finished with a time of 3 hours, four minutes and 35 seconds. Overall, her first European marathon was an excellent experience.

“It was my first time running a marathon in Europe,” Luthi said. “There was close to 45,000 people in the race and we went by some extremely iconic and historic monuments during the race. It was a flat, fast course and we ended it through the Brandenberg Gate, it was actually pretty incredible.”

Luthi placed 235th out of 11,509 women. She was 35th in her age class, the 10th fastest Canadian woman, and third fastest Canadian woman in her age class.

There were a few challenges that came with running her first race on a different continent, the biggest of which was the hydration station setup, which was a bit different compared to North America.

“They are a little bit more spread out and it wasn’t the typical electrolytes that I am used to consuming,” Luthi explained. “They have a different brand there, so I did have to prepare in advance just to get ready for that.”

The European experience was also unique because of cultural differences. Luthi said smoking was more prevalent than in Canada, including at races and marathons.

“I could smell cigarette smoke from spectators on the course, so that took a little bit of getting used to, but otherwise it was just minor details and it was fine,” she said. “Everything, thankfully, was in German and English, so I did know what was going on all of the time at the start line there.”

Submitted Photo. Melfort’s Robyn Luthi was among nearly 45,000 runners who competed at the 2022 Berlin Marathon.

Besides aiming to compete in all six Abbot World Marathon Majors, Luthi also aims to complete a sub-three hour marathon. She has already shaved 18 minutes off her time from last year.

Luthi has run the Boston Marathon three times in 2018, 2019 and 2022 and the Chicago Marathon in 2021. That leaves her with the London, New York, and Tokyo left to complete out of the major six.

Luthi has applied to run in the London Marathon next, but said it’s going to be difficult just to compete.

“My chances of getting in are slim right now, through the lottery, just because I am from North America and not from England,” she explained. “For sure, my goal will be to run New York in November, 2023. If I get into London in the meantime great. If not, I will pick up some runs in Saskatchewan just to keep my fitness level where it needs to be.”

Her personal best time was in Chicago at 3 hours, nine minutes and five seconds in 2021 and she managed to shave almost four minutes off of that time.

“I was very happy with my race,” she said. “I was actually on par to run a little bit faster but I am still kind of working out the kinks in the last seven kilometres of my race. I felt the engines fall off a little bit there, so that is something my coach and I have to work on. Just my fueling methods and just maybe tailoring my training so that last 7 km I am able to maintain a little bit stronger than I have been, but overall I am very, very happy with that race.”

Runner from 157 different countries competed at the Berlin Marathon. Luthi said she was happy to be a part of such a diverse group of competitors.

The current world record was set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon where Eliud Kipchoge won the men’s race in two hours, one minute and nine seconds. As well, Tigist Assefa set a new women’s course record at two hours, 15 minutes and 37 seconds.

“I kind of feel privileged and honoured that I participated in the marathon where the world record was set,” Luthi said.

Her husband Cory Luthi, who was part of her cheering section, recorded video of the world record finish at the Brandenburg Gate.

“It was sort of a really great experience being a participant, and then knowing just the atmosphere was so electric after at the finish line because that world record had been broken. I would 100 per cent do that marathon again just because the course was so flat and so fast and it was overall such a positive experience being there,” Luthi said.

After completing the marathon, Luthi and her cheering section toured Germany and got another memorable experience by attending Octoberfest.

“We got the full German experience while we were there. Myself and several runners were partaking in Octoberfest festivities in Munich after the race in Berlin so it was well deserved I feel,” she said.