Letters From The Field

Have pen, will travel. Sending letters.

21.0975 km in 30 tweets

A letter from Berlin. In which is recapped the personal experience of running a half marathon.

Berlin, March 2015


this will be rather unusual letter. I mean – more unusual than … usual. Some kind of an experiment in narration, giving an impression of my latest sportive activity – the megalomania of running a half marathon.

‘Insider’s view’ and coverage ‘close to the event’ – both major advantages of the so-called new media. Information’s available to the point, everyone’s going to be a reporter if they wish (for good or worse, you probably would agree I assume). In a highly ‘digitized’ world like ours, a variety of new modes of reporting and narrating have evolved. And actually still are evolving. Web services like Storify (among others, but you get the idea) now create whole narratives by processing social network content; tweeting from certain events in real-time has become an interesting variation of running a commentary, allowing the audience an almost genuine live-experience of what is going on – with comparatively low effort (the reporter, however, still acting in his role as ‘gatekeeper’ by selecting what information to pass and what to skip).


For some time now I was playing around with the idea of capturing a story with tools of social media and with the 2015 Berlin Half Marathon (having taken place just yesterday; my feet are still pretty tired as I’ve got to admit) the opportunity came about to try something like this. It was the third half marathon I was participating in, and although I would have liked (and – actually – needed) slightly more time for training and preparation (hence a finishing time considerably slower than the year before … but hey: No elusions!), running through town passing all these sights, the cheering crowd and encouraging music-bands, the adrenaline and achievement was a fantastic experience. Again. One definitely worth to be covered (and given a try; think about it). Well, I’m not really that good in running and live-tweeting at the same time (who’d thought that, you’re just thinking, right?), so I made a little compromise: Putting the 140-character-long notes down once I came back home (and after a hot bath, admittedly), preparing a number of ‘live tweets’ just postponed for 24 hours – still telling my (kind of) real-time first-hand account. So, yes my friend, almost as if you’ve been were running with me. Well, minus the breathlessness maybe.

What do you think of this? An idea to engage for future reporting?




What remains is, again, the impression of a great sports event with carnival atmosphere and the realization that coffee the morning of such a race definitely is a bad idea, and that two banana halves on the run are a great energy booster, but then again four  might be a bit too much. No question, however, I’m signing up for next year again!

4 comments on “21.0975 km in 30 tweets

  1. Curt Mekemson
    March 31, 2015

    Great empathy on that bladder bit. It’s why my sport is hiking in the woods. There is always a tree. –Curt

    • J.N.
      March 31, 2015

      Thanks a lot! And I can totally relate to hiking the woods (and the benefit of trees) too. ;-)

  2. luss006
    December 16, 2015

    Congrats! A great energy there, that’s why the big satisfaction, right? Good luck next year!

    • Jens
      December 17, 2015

      Thank you! The rush of adrenaline afterwards is definitely worth the drudgery. Somehow. ;-)

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This entry was posted on March 30, 2015 by in Sports and tagged , , , , , .

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