Horste Milde, Father of German Modern Distance Running, Turns 70 today, Tribute from Race Service, Note by Larry Eder

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A hearty congratulations to Horste Milde, who has given so much to the sport in Germany and has had the visionary power to see what running could be. In his new role, Horste will be able to encourage marathons, big and small, to evolve and see what the future holds for our sport!


Horst Milde: the Father of German Modern Distance Running is 70

One name encapsulates the development of running in Berlin and, above all, the Berlin Marathon and that is Horst Milde. He was one of those who provided the impetus for the birth of the mass running movement. From the first cross-country race on November 8, 1964 on Berlin’s Teufelsberg in the Grunewald – when a student at the city’s Freie Universitaet – till his departure at the start of 2004 as race director, Horst and his team had set a total of 1,268,649 people in running motion in 348 races over 40 years. While he was in charge at the Berlin Marathon, five world records were set including the epoch-making world bests of Naoko Takahashi and Paul Tergat. The Japanese woman became the first to break two hours, 20 while the Kenyan was the first man to run under 2:05.

Today Horst Milde celebrates his 70th birthday amongst friends and family. At the beginning of 2004 his son Mark took over the role of race director of the Berlin Marathon. Horst’s other children, Karsten and Gesine, have also volunteered their time and energy to Berlin’s top races for many years.

Horst Milde grew up in the Tempelhof district of Berlin and his running career began with the local club,TSV Tempelhof-Mariendorf. As a middle-distance runner, he then switched to SCC Berlin and, as member of the club’s 3 x 1,000 m relay which included the 1966 European 1500 m champion Bodo Tuemmler, twice won the German championship (1964 and 1965). His personal best for 800 m was 1:49.8 and he also ran 2:25.00 for 1,000 m, 3:51.8 for 1500 m and clocked 49.1 for 400 m. Horst’s best time for 10,000 m was 33:33.

Horst Milde was a student at the Freie Universitaet (FU) in Berlin when he began organizing races in 1964. With his business degree the master baker later took over the Konditorei Milde on the Tempelhofer Damm. He and his wife Sabine ran the family business into the third generation until 1998. The office in the backroom was where many ideas for the mass running in Berlin and Germany were hammered out. Horst Milde has been responsible for a number of ground-breaking initiatives – whether it was introducing national championships in cross-country, urging the introduction of computer timing chips before they were officially recognized or the first loop course in a marathon held entirely within a city marathon for a World Athletics Championships. Start and finish of the World Championship marathon in 2009 in Berlin will be at the Brandenburg Gate. Until now the finish for the World Championships has always been in the stadium. As a race organizer Horst Milde has also run more than a few of the big marathons – competing twice in New York as well as in London, Boston, Honolulu, Vienna, Stockholm and Copenhagen – achieving a personal best of 3:42. He was chairman of the track and field section of SCC Berlin for over a decade as well as being an official representative for the Berlin track and field federation (BLV) and playing an active role in promoting mass sport within Berlin’s regional sports federation.

These days he is on the Board of Directors of the Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS) as well as spokesman for the German Road Races (GRR). In these roles he continues to play a significant role in the national and international development of the sport of running. He has, for example, supported the creation of the official AIMS-Museum (The Museum of Sport in Berlin) and is chairman of the AIMS Symposium which will take place for the second time in Athens on November 8.

Special thanks to German media Race Services for this wonderful tribute.

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