Amsterdam Full & Half Marathons 2012
[Sun 21st Oct]
After our flights on the Saturday, Phillippa and I were awoken on Sunday morning at 7.30am by a phone call from Hayley, our alarm clock didn’t go off, and we were late!! Good start!!! The marathon started at 9.30am and the half was not till 1.30pm. After running around like headless chickens (Phillippa did reassure me this was the best preparation for a marathon) we got our bearings, got dressed, fuelled up and headed off for our tram.
(Whilst Phillippa and I were still eating) we joined the back of the queue, after half an hour we realised the tram wasn’t coming and we started a 45 minute walk to the stadium, in a city we’d never been in before!!
Eventually we reached the Olympic stadium which held the 1928 Olympic Games!! We were on time. Feeling great Phillippa and Hayley made their way into the stadium and into their pens. There was an amazing atmosphere in the stadium, with a record number of 13,000 runners from 82 countries, a large crowd and music playing!!
The weather was perfect running conditions, over cast, heavy clouds, a few spots of rain with a slight cool breeze!!!
At 9.30am the marathon started with the elite athletes going off first then the mass runners went, with phillippa and Hayley going over the start line 12 min after the elite, they were off on their grueling 26 mile run.
I was there to see the winner come in, Wilson Chebit from Kenya, he eclipsed the course record set in 2010 (2.05.44) by 3 seconds setting the time of 2.05.41!!! The woman’s race was won by Meseret Hailu from Ethiopia in a time of 2.21.09!!!!!
Hayley finished in a time of 3.42, commentating that the Dutch need a new measuring stick because she ran 26.5 miles!!!
Phillippa got a new pb with an impressive time of 3.37.
I didn’t see the girls finish their race as I had my own to prepare for, the half marathon started just outside the stadium at 1.30pm. I dropped my bag off and made my way to my pen in good time, with a similar system to the great north run, with my pen being 3 from the front and me being right in the front of it!!
The half got a way on time with our pen getting released at 1.45pm. I started off feeling good and strong, knowing there was a nice flat course ahead. With my pocket full of jelly babies I made my way through the streets and runners. As with the full marathon, music was playing all the way around with bands that kept our spirits up and spurred us on. With very well stocked water stations on the way, my particular favourite was the sponges, which I’ve never had in a race before!! I managed to get around in one piece in a time 1.49.36 a new pb, my goal was a sub 1.50, so I was well chuffed with that, . . job done!!
Of course we had a few post race drinks!!!
After leaving our bags in the baggage area we headed off with the masses into the stadium, the music was blaring and the atmosphere was amazing it was definitely the best start of any race I have ever been to, we quickly made our way into the pens which were colour co-ordinated depending on the times you had set in your entry form. The start of the marathon was half way around the track and once you had gone through the start line you then ran around the track to the blaring music and out into the streets of Amsterdam, it didn’t take long for the narrow paths to come congested and it stayed this way until about 7-8 miles, this made the race quite hard as you were running fast then slow and trying to get a comfortable pace at this point was impossible and I quickly realised that this was not going to be as easy as I had initially thought it might be - flat or not!!. We did manage to get a comfortable pace and the plan was to run under 3 hr 40 or thereabouts. After the rough start we managed to get into a comfortable running zone towards the half way point around the canal where there was quite a breeze and this lasted until we hit 16 miles, at this point our legs were all getting tired and it was not long after this that we separated and ran our own races. Unfortunately at the start my watch would not work and I was reliant on anyone telling me at what mile point in the race we were as there were no mile markers only Km markers. There were plenty of water stations, however cups during a marathon are never a good idea and I think I had more up my nose and on my vest than I actually drunk, but they had plenty water, energy drinks, bananas and sponges to hand out. As with any marathon the second half of the race was not going to be easy, however the music along the way was excellent club style music and loud enough to give you that bit extra to keep going. At the finish you ran back into the stadium to the finish line and I have never saw such a welcome sight in a long time - well not since the finish of the last marathon anyway……. To sum it up Amsterdam marathon is a flat but fast course and great for pb’s.
Thanks Heather Barrass, Phillippa Baxter, Hayley Masterman.