Just a short walk from Berlin’s 1936 Olympic Stadium, in a stately old building, is the AIMS Marathon Museum of Running. 

 

Keeping the collection displayed and growing is the always-enthusiastic Horst Milde, founding director of Berlin Marathon and the man credited with teaching Berlin to run.

 

AIMS – the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races – was established in 1982.  Horst Milde and Berlin Marathon were founding members.  It now numbers more than 350 distance events from 98 countries.

 

After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 various sport history collections were united in the Berlin Sports Museum. 

In 1994 Horst received AIMS approval to incorporate the AIMS Marathon Museum of Running into the sports museum as a way to document the development of running and marathons worldwide.

 

It’s a wonderful collection of marathon memorabilia on display, with volumes of printed material catalogued and stored.

 

There’s the running kit worn by Haile Gebrselassie when he set the world record in Berlin in 2007 (2:04:26); the shoes of Tegla Lorupe from her 2:20:43 record in 1999; and the race number, shoes and water bottle used by Naoko Takahashi when she broke through the 2:20 barrier in 2001 (she recorded 2:19:46).

 

The collection includes marathon books, posters, medals, merchandise and souvenirs including many from early running events organised by Horst before he started the Berlin Marathon in 1974.

Nothing is considered too trivial for this museum.  Jackets, caps, ties, race bibs, singlets, t-shirts, shoes, race guides, even photos and paintings are treasured in this fascinating collection.    And Horst knows the story behind them all. 

 

He is particularly proud of the replica silver trophy won by Greek runner Spyridon Louis in the first marathon of the modern Olympics in 1896.  There is also a sculpture of a Greek athlete which was displayed at the stadium during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  He points to displays marking 100 years of the Boston Marathon and a large collection from New York Marathon.

 

“A lot of things are mine,” Horst says.  “My wife says ‘give them to the museum’.”

 

 

Even in his retirement, Horst still actively encourages donations and spends time in the museum workrooms where there is still much to be sorted and recorded.

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