The Cologne Marathon, half marathon, skating event and hand cycling, attracts over 27,000 participants every year. The inaugural race took place in 1997 and it is now the third most popular marathon in Germany after the Berlin Marathon and Hamburg Marathon.
Known as the 'experience marathon', the Cologne Marathon is full of interesting sites.
Runners start in the Cologne Deutz area, crossing westward over the Rhine. They almost immediately then face the twin towers of the massive Cologne Cathedral before striding along side of the Rhine, past the many Romanesque churches, passing through some of the attractive parks that surround the city. They then return to the city centre, once again reaching the finish line at the impressive Cologne cathedral.
Almost 10,000 runners will toe the starting line today, but with a 6 hour time limit to complete the course, just half will finish...