This course is fast, flat, and completely free of crossovers, with a maximum height difference of just twenty meters from the lowest point (at the Pieschener Allee start) to the highest point (at Tannenstrasse, km 5.5). More than 95% of the course is asphalt, making it great for personal bests. The marathon is run in two rounds, with the second round approximately 53% identical to the first. Scenic views and a striking mix of baroque and nature make this course a favorite among runners.
When the starting pistol fires, your “one-of-a-kind city tour” begins. If you’re not battling it out for the prize money, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of sightseeing along the way. The race starts on Pieschener Allee facing the Heinz Steyer Stadium. Straight ahead, you’ll see the Yenidze building, also known as the “Tobacco Mosque”. A left turn takes you toward the Congress Center and two turns you will lead you to the Ostra-Allee. After passing the famous Zwinger you’ll catch a great view of the Semper Opera, the Royal Palace and the Cathedral.
The AOK Quarter marathon (10.55k, with a separate 10 a.m. start time) branches off after approximately three kilometers, taking runners through the Blockhouse-Garden and down the bike path along the Elbe. There you’ll reach the famous “Canaletto view”. On the opposite side of the Elbe you will see the famous Dresden skyline with the Royal Palace, Cathedral, Academy of Arts and Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady). After six kilometers, the AOK Quarter marathon runners cross the Waldschlösschenbrücke and run along the old town Elbe bank towards the finish.
The half marathon route is the same as the first round of the marathon (start time is at 10.30 a.m.). The beginning third of the route takes you through the Inner and Outer Neustadt. The Dresden Inner Neustadt is home to several cultural institutions and museums including the Erich Kästner Museum located at Albertplatz and the Museum of Ethnology in the Japanese Palace. Course highlights include Palaisplatz, Königstrasse and the Dreikönigskirche. After reaching Albertplatz after kilometer 4, you’ll head to the Outer Neustadt via Rothenburger Strasse. The Outer Neustadt is one of the largest and best preserved Gründerzeit-style quarters in Europe, well-known today for its vibrant culture and numerous restaurants, pubs, and shops. You’ll get a good taste of the “Neustadt flair” as you run down Louisenstrasse and Kamenzer Strasse.
Run past Alaunplatz as you head down Tannenstraße and Hans-Oster-Straße, arriving at Stauffenbergallee, where on the right-hand side you’ll come face-to-face with the stunning St. Martin Church. The next five kilometers fly by fast, beginning in the Radeberger Vorstadt and heading through the 600m long Waldschlößchen tunnel.
After the tunnel, you’ll cross the Elbe river again over the Waldschlößchenbrücke, originally opened in 2013. From there it’s a quick few kilometers along Fetscherstrasse to reach the famous Grand Garden, Dresden’s largest park. You’ll run a loop through the park before continuing past the Transparent Factory to Commeniusplatz, and then along Fetscherstrasse back to Fetscherplatz. This is followed by a long stretch that offers an amazing view of the Frauenkirche Church all the way to Steinstrasse. The the last few kilometers of the half marathon take you down a straight, wide route below the famous Brühl´s Terrace and Dresden Fortress to the finish at the MARITIM Hotel.
At km 20.5 (near the “Italian Village”), the marathon runners start their second round, which is approximately 35% different from the first round.
The route from the Augustus bridge heads past the Japanese Palace and down the Elbe bike path (“Canaletto view”) along the Königsufer (“king’s riverbank”) to the Rose Garden. After crossing the Waldschlößchen bridge a second time, you’ll run through the villa-lined streets of the Blasewitz district. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a striking view of three neighboring castles (Albrechtsberg Palace, Lingner Palace and Eckberg Palace) located on the hillside of the Elbe river in Loschwitz. Upon finishing the loop through Blasewitz, the remaining route from km 30 onward is identical to the first round. The multitude of sights and the varied route create a journey that is worth every step.