The Amsterdam marathon weekend for most of us started on Thursday evening when we received notification from British Airways that our flight had been cancelled. Frantic Facebook messages to the group and phone calls to BA followed with everyone somehow managing to get booked onto other flights, some from Gatwick some from Heathrow at differing times of the day. The majority of us were all booked into the same hotel in the fashion district of Amsterdam so once everyone had arrived and booked into their rooms the weekend started with a trip out to Leidseplein where we discovered the BAR-B Burgers ‘N Beer Bar, the perfect restaurant for Peter Grecian as some of the tables had their own metered beer tap set into the table, perfect for those who like to top themselves up. Following the Expo, Saturday was spent wandering around taking in the sights, the obligatory tour of the Red Light District, a few beers and general relaxation as everyone pondered on the distance they were to cover the following day.
The marathon was an earlier start than the half so those doing the shorter distance had the luxury of mooching around, having some breakfast and watching the runners come through before heading off for their turn on the start line. I however, having chosen not to run for fear of aggravating the injury that kept me out set off from the hotel early hoping to get some breakfast before catching everyone as they huffed and puffed around the pancake flat course. However seeing as everything in Amsterdam appears to remain shut on a Sunday morning with just a coffee for breakfast I decided the best plan of action would be to first catch the runners coming through Vondelpark a few Kilometres in and then work my way through the route. After the elites had flown through I was keeping an eye out for our runners, first should have been Ryan Lambrix but he proved to be the invisible man amongst the hordes of runners that followed. However not to long after I was spotted and hailed by Danny Norman who was running with Libby Marchant and they ran along the very pretty roads in the park.
Matthew Pritchard, David Pearce, Vicki Kirk and Ellen Lambrix all soon followed looking comfortable in the cool temperatures that threatened the odd spell of light rain, perfect conditions for running. Once exiting Vondelpark the course passes the famous Rijksmueum and along one of the many canals down to Beatrixpark where the course does a short out and back giving me just enough time to head down to a main junction where many canals meet before the runners head along the Amstelkanaal and see them at around 10K. I didn’t arrive early enough to catch Danny, Libby and Ryan but I was able to cheer Matthew, David, Vicki and Ellen through who all still looked comfortable determined to hit their targets. This particular corner was home to one of the many musical entertainment stands which were instrumental (pardon the pun) in getting the runners round and was particularly enjoyed by Ellen as she came through arms raised clapping her way through the junction in time to the music.
My next challenge was to try and catch the guys again at the 25Km point; the runners now had an 11Km out and back section along the Amstel so I figured they could probably use some encouragement when they got back to civilisation. I made my way to the Overamstel Metro Station as they would give me transportation back to Vondelpark to see the runners back through at 40Km. Hot footing it across town I managed to get there just in time to see Danny and Libby, Libby was looking like she was well in her stride but Danny on the other hand was starting to show the symptoms of not having run any long runs in his build up to Amsterdam. He had already said it was going to be a tough one and at just over 15 miles I think the lack of training was starting to tell. That said he pushed on through looking determined to do the best he could under the circumstances and disappeared into the crowd. Matthew followed soon after with David Pearce hot on his heels both still looking strong. Vicki and Ellen appeared, still running together and as they approached Vicki heard and spotted me by Ellen was in a world of her own, then there was this moment of recognition as the biggest smile you ever see from someone at 25 miles when she realised that noisy bugger in the crowd was cheering her on. I think and hope that picked them all up a bit and helped them through a few more miles.
A quick metro ride and another walk later I arrived back where I started but not in time to see Ryan, Danny or Libby. I had been chasing around all day trying to see Ryan but he was motoring round so quick I just couldn’t head him off at the pass. In fact by the time I got back to Vondelpark I felt like I’d done a marathon myself so after seeing David and Ellen through, completely missed Matthew and Vicki as I think I was too busy drinking coffee I took a walk up to the stadium. I had considered running the final mile with Ellen who by now was running on her own, digging deep and looked as though she just wanted it to be all over but I decided she’d probably be best on her own so I went for Chinese food instead, much better choice I felt.
On arriving at the stadium I tracked down Matthew, Danny and Libby and sat in the stadium waiting for the half marathon runners to finish. I had considered trying to get over to the other side of the city to give them some support but decided that a nice sit down in the stadium was the better option. That being the case I can’t tell you too much about the half except that:
- Steve Ramek stormed home in a time of 1:25:53
- Greg Whiteman set me a nice PB after deciding to use my number rather than risk his dodgy knee in the marathon
- Kevin Furlong took the prize for the most amount of effort to overtake as many other runners as possible in the last 250 on the track
- Richard Kirk absolutely smashed it after his training regime of bile, run swim over the past few months and shedding a considerable amount of weight
- Janneke Zoeteman was probably the only one amongst us who knew what the guy on the PA was saying as she raced through the crowds in the stadium
- Kate Hancock managed to get round the entire course without her usual 8 mile strop and even appeared to be smiling as she coasted through the final 100m
- Maria Cenalmor even found the time to take a few photo’s as she came into the stadium and crossed the finish line
- And finally Sonia Pritchard finished her first half marathon in style with the biggest smile you ever did see and did not dodge the question when asked afterwards if she would consider running a marathon
All in the all the whole Amsterdam experience was an absolute triumph and one I would happily repeat even if it meant not being able to run and be number one supporter again. The mix of running and socialising in such a relaxed environment was definitely a winner as were all of those who ran.
- Ryan Lambrix – 3:12:09
- Libby Marchant – 3:28:25
- Danny Norman – 3:42:34
- David Pearce – 3:51:50
- Vicki Kirk – 3:57:13
- Matthew Pritchard – 3:59:51
- Ellen Lambrix – 4:05:32
Half Marathon Results
- Steve Ramek – 1:25:53
- Greg Whiteman – 1:48:18
- Richard Kirk – 1:56:58
- Kevin Furlong – 1:58:04
- Janneke Zoeteman – 2:01:40
- Kate Hancock – 2:11.34
- Maria Cenalmor – 2:12:58
- Sonia Pritchard – 2:28:09
One last person to mention was Steve’s better half Julie as I know the guys would like me to send out a big thank you to her for her support as well.
Well done everyone who ran, you not only did the club proud but also yourselves but givning it everythng you had and then a little bit more.