Sunday 20th October 2013
By Ann Chivers
Why Amsterdam? Whilst in London in April to support Pete in the 2013 VLM a couple were chatting to us about marathons they had run. Amsterdam appeared a particular favourite. Inspired by the runners in the VLM I returned to Leeds, looked up the date for Amsterdam, decided October 20th was far enough in the future to give me time to train properly and entered there and then.
I decided that four runs a week was a realistic training schedule so I duly downloaded a sixteen week plan from Runners World. Marathon training started 1st July 2013 and I diligently followed the plan. I picked up a little calf niggle half way through training which cleared up after a couple of sports massages courtesy of Rachael Dodds and then pain in my left heal which unfortunately did not go away.
All in all seven Roundhay Runners headed to Amsterdam with three of us running the marathon, three running the 8k and one international supporter extraordinaire. We spent the two days before the marathon seeing a few sights and eating in trendy restaurants which helped keep the nerves away.
On the morning of the marathon Pete, Allan and I headed out early and seamlessly found our way to the start via the metro system. The start in the Olympic Stadium was very inspiring although it did take me 20 minutes to cross the start line! The route around the city and through the Rijks museum was cool and well supported but I found the long sections along the River Amstel a bit of a struggle.
I ran well until around the 18 mile mark when I started to slow and then I well and truly hit the wall with the 20th mile taking me nearly 15 minutes! I managed to persuade myself to run again and the last few miles through Vondel Park and then back into the stadium were good if a little painful. I missed the cheering support of my fellow Roundhay Runners (the glare had taken hold at that point) and eventually finished in 4 hours 41 minutes – a PB. I missed my target of 4 hours 30 minutes but I don’t mind, I tried my best and that’s all that matters.
Overall I enjoyed my first international race and would recommend the Amsterdam running festival. There are 8k, half and marathon options and a strong international running contingent. Plus Amsterdam is a fun city to visit with lots of things to do pre and post race.