When we challenged four creatives/athletes to train with us for a half marathon in Berlin, they had no idea what they were signing up for — some didn’t even know a half marathon’s total distance. But despite the uncertainty, they took the plunge and discovered that embracing and embarking on a new and uncharted journey can take you to surprising and unexpected places.

Midway into their 14-week training plan, we checked in to find out how they were getting on. Now, just days before the race, we meet with them again for a closer look at how the challenge has impacted all aspects of their lives. From quitting smoking and having more energy to creative breakthroughs and mindset shifts, Biel Carpenter, Diana Maracuja, Steph Barretoa, and Souly have each had a unique experience training for the 21-kilometer race in Berlin. Find out more below.

Biel Carpenter

What are you most looking forward to about race day? What are you most nervous about?

Right now, I’m very anxious because I had to stop the training due to a knee injury. I twisted my knee while training on the grass in Tempelhof, after 18km. I’m treating my knee with some medicaments, ice, and rest. Next Monday I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. I hope it’s nothing serious. I feel pain when walking and I hope to really improve in order to run the half marathon.

Achieving your personal best is about more than quick times and records. What does “personal best” mean to you?

I think it’s knowing my limits and being the best I can be given the circumstances.

What thoughts, inspirations, or motivations are going to help you finish the race?

When I run, I don’t think much about the finishing line. Maybe it’s the only moment I really feel I’m living the present. Each step, concentrating on that moment, that’s what keeps me going.

What’s going to be on your race day playlist?

I like to run without headphones, hearing the noise of the city.

nike running half marathon berlin training
Highsnobiety / Roberto Brundo

What’s the most exciting change you’ve seen in yourself, your life, or routine in training for the half marathon?

The discipline of training has brought me several benefits, including a significant reduction in cigarette consumption. I improved my sleep and I have more energy for daily activities.

How are you going to continue training after the half marathon?

I have high ambitions for running. I will start training supervised by a professional runner friend of mine from Brazil, and next year I want to run an ultra-marathon.

Diana Maracuja

What are you most looking forward to about race day? What are you most nervous about?

I’ve been living in Berlin for almost 3 years now and I’ve never seen the famous Brandenburg Gate in real life, so I’m really looking forward to the sightseeing trip. I hope the weather is on our side since it’s been so windy and rainy in Berlin.

Achieving your personal best is about more than quick times and records. What does “personal best” mean to you?

My personal best would be finishing it within 3 hours. I think this is realistic and it would be a huge accomplishment for my career as an amateur athlete.

What thoughts, inspirations, or motivations are going to help you finish the race?

Being in my early 20s, I shouldn’t complain about my body aching. We need to realize that time is running out and we need to workout to make our bodies stronger and more durable if we want to live a long and healthy life. When is a better time than now to check a half marathon off your bucket list?

What’s going to be on your race day playlist?

Usually, I’m more the R&B and hip-hop listener, but for race day I will probably play some techno sets. I enjoy how DJs build up a mix, this will definitely keep me motivated.

nike running half marathon berlin training
Highsnobiety / Roberto Brundo

What’s the most exciting change you’ve seen in yourself, your life, or routine in training for the half marathon?

I can proudly say I quit smoking cigarettes over a month ago now. I felt how it impaired my endurance during the first runs, so I just stopped. Everyone should. Tip: whenever someone goes outside for a smoke, join to catch some fresh oxygen.

How are you going to continue training after the half marathon?

I’ll continue to go on to runs every now and then to stay physically and mentally fit.

Steph Barretoa

What are you most looking forward to about race day? What are you most nervous about?

I’m looking forward to being able to finish the race even if I cross the line last. I’m nervous that I might hurt myself.

Achieving your personal best is about more than quick times and records. What does “personal best” mean to you?

To me, personal best means to grow based on my own expectations, to be my own biggest motivation, and to encourage myself towards the next steps.

What thoughts, inspirations, or motivations are going to help you finish the race?

Definitely my mind! I’ll cheer myself up for as long I can.

What’s going to be on your race day playlist?

I have no idea, I’ve been training without music. I’m probably going to mix different playlists.

nike running half marathon berlin training
Highsnobiety / Roberto Brundo

What’s the most exciting change you’ve seen in yourself, your life, or routine in training for the half marathon?

The exciting change for me is to concentrate on a goal and not get distracted, to not give in, to encourage myself, grow, be patient, and above all, not put myself under pressure.

How are you going to continue training after the half marathon?

I don’t know yet, maybe with a runners group, but I’ll definitely keep training.

Souly

What are you most looking forward to about race day? What are you most nervous about?

To be honest, I’m looking forward to the moment when I really did it. Furthermore, I’m pretty excited about the situation itself. Everyone in the team talking ‘bout the incredible setting, with all the people coming together enjoying a great day.

Achieving your personal best is about more than quick times and records. What does “personal best” mean to you?

On the one hand, it’s pushing myself to run longer and faster with every run — this gives me a great feeling and in my case, gave me a totally new perspective on staying power. But, on the other hand, I really enjoy the meditative part of running. I had some low weeks at the beginning of the year but when I started to train I recognized that running facilitates tuning in. “Personal best” in this context means that I develop the craziest ideas for my music more easily than ever this year, and it’s all been while running.

What thoughts, inspirations, or motivations are going to help you finish the race?

Most of all, it’s the idea that finishing the race won’t mean finishing my training behavior. I really put in work to get on this level, to be able to finish the run, and I won’t quit. That’s pretty much it.

What’s going to be on your race day playlist?

Ohhh I need a wild mix of everything on my playlist during sports. Mainly you´ll find some raw trap stuff. I tried a lot, but in the end, 21 is still the best sound when it comes to getting myself motivated. Totally different to that, somehow I got used to listening to jazz classics while running. I’m not sure why, but it has a similar impact on me. I’m gonna put my running playlist online on my Spotify profile, so you can get my point.

nike running half marathon berlin training
Highsnobiety / Roberto Brundo

What’s the most exciting change you’ve seen in yourself, your life, or routine in training for the half marathon?

I got myself back to it on the most effective level — the activity and raising self-awareness helped me out of a little creative crisis. The runs helped remind me to keep my focus on the right things.

How are you going to continue training after the half marathon?

First of all, I’ll definitely continue! Who knows, maybe next year you’ll see me finishing the full marathon.

Words by Aaron Howes
Branded Content Editor
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