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Amsterdam Half Marathon and Marathon 2007

2007
Oct

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Claire, Murdo and Neil took part in the above events and their times are shown below.

Name Event Category Position Gun Time Chip Time Overall Position
Claire Martin Half Marathon Female/2098 2:22:47 2:18:02 (PB) 7747/8448
Neil Page Marathon M35/182 3:17:05 3:15:56 (PB 881/6522
Murdo Macleod Marathon M45/592 4:01:41 3:57:24 3570/6522

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Murdo wrote: Neil and I had run the Berlin marathon in September 2006 and enjoyed the event immensely. While we had both run marathons before, the extra edge given by being in a foreign country and being part of such a prestigious event only added to the enjoyment. We had also travelled with our respective partners, Nicola and Rona, making a long city-break weekend of it. Consequently, having agreed to do something similar in autumn 2007, we selected the Amsterdam marathon because of ease of travel, knowledge of the city/event and flatness!

Entry was on-line, very easy, no medical certificate required (unlike France or Italy), cost in 2007 was E57.50 (approx. £40) plus another E4.00 for a single use timing chip if you didn’t have one of your own. Website is at www.amsterdammarathon.nl which is comprehensive, has an English language version and easy to use; lots of background information. Confirmation of entry is immediate and you are updated thereafter by regular (emailed) newsletters, approximately monthly. About a fortnight before the day, you receive a letter including a copy of your acceptance certificate, a very useful map of the city including event route, details about registration, number collection, public transport, what to do on the day (before & after) including friends and family etc.

We flew from Edinburgh with Easyjet direct to Amsterdam Schipol on Friday morning, takes about an hour. There is a train from Schipol to Central Station; costs E3.40, takes 25 minutes and runs every 15-20 minutes. We walked to our hotel which was on the river harbour side – about 15 minutes away.

You have to collect your number, chip, vest etc from the marathon expo which is held in a sports hall next to the start/finish point at the Olympic Stadium. The easiest way to get there is by metro, involving one change and takes about 15 minutes plus another five minute walk to the hall – very easy, clear details being on your joining instructions. We went on Friday afternoon, finding the hall eerily quiet compared to the bustle of the London or Berlin expos. Couldn’t have been simpler; you give them your acceptance letter or email and you get your number (actually 2 copies!), pins, timing chip, some freebies etc and a coupon which you exchanged for a Mizuno technical running T-Shirt at another stand; very nice, good quality memento. The Expo itself consisted of a hall full of various stands selling running relating clothes, shoes, supplements, equipment or promoting other events. We probably spend about an hour wandering about. Good place to buy gels etc that you forgot! Because we got the registration out of the way on Friday afternoon, we had the rest of the day and Saturday for sightseeing etc. Also, you could buy promotional public-transport travel cards at the expo which gave you unlimited travel on metro, trams and buses. Cost was E10 for 72 hours, took us up to Monday late afternoon so all we had to do was pay for the trip back to Schipol. After the run we had Sunday evening and all day Monday free as well; flight back didn’t leave until 2130.

On the day, we got the metro, leaving the hotel at about 0900, walked to Central Station and were at the stadium by 0945. The marathon starts at 1030 from the Olympic stadium with some of the supporting events starting outside; 5km at 1115, 2.5km youth fun run at 1130, half marathon at 1400 and a business relay which I don’t know anything about. The stadium is relatively small, built for the 1928 event, think “Chariots of Fire” size. First time the Olympic flame was used hence the design on the marathon medal.

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You could get changed either at the sports-hall or at the stadium concourse and leave your clothes etc with an organised service. Your bag was given a sticky label with a unique number, a smaller version was then stuck on your running number – very simple but worked great. Entry to the running track was for participants only with supporters directed to the stands. The start was segregated into (15 minute) sections depending on your predicted time. As part of your pack you got a wrist band which gave timings for each 5km, as well as 10 and 20 miles, half-way and finish, again dependant on your predicted finish time. Actually turned out a very useful guide of how you were doing. These bands were also coloured and corresponded to the various sections – again making it easy to get to the right pen. We had no problems, no long queues worth talking about for toilets, bag-drop, entry or pen. Race started on time, great atmosphere even although the stadium was understandably sparsely populated.

The race route takes you from the stadium on a 7km loop including through the Vondel Park back to the start and then away though the city to the river side which you followed out into the countryside. Then back via the city centre and again the Vondel Park to finish at the stadium. The race is very flat, the only lumps being the canal bridges! Because a lot of the run is either in parks, riverside or in the country, the race is surprisingly rural. The riverside bits are on wide cycle paths, single track road size. No congestion worth talking about but you had to watch your footing in areas for street-furniture, kerbs or tram lines etc, particularly near the start. I saw two falls where runners weren’t watching where they were going. Not a problem if you’re careful. The race was well supported, with a number of samba bands along the way. Every 5kms was clearly marked by a blow-up arch and each km with an A-board which was easily missed until the field thinned out. Refreshments were available every 5km, normally just after the arch marker. Water sponge, Lucozade or water in cups available at each stop with peeled banana sections available in the last 20kms. Worked well.

The finish in the stadium was particularly good, great atmosphere with the main stand well populated with supporters cheering on their runners. You ran halfway round, finishing in front of the main stand after which you were funnelled to got your medal, plastic covering and walked round to the exit and the concourse where Lucozade, oranges etc were available plus a goodie bag with some sweets, drink, leaflets etc. You handed in your chip, left the athlete’s compound, collected your drop-bag and met up with family.

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clip_image010We met up in the stand and, as it was getting cold, went for a drink at the stadium coffee bar which no one else seemed to have found. Must have been a dozen people there at most – not complaining! According to the statistics of our research company, it was revealed that the bitterness of Cialis is not a hindrance if you take the pill at home, and do not hide anything from your partner. Another thing is if sex should happen with a partner, who you do not really want to know about your secret. You can do even without water, but then there will be a bitter taste in the mouth, which is not very pleasant when sexual intimacy. Read more at https://blog.jobmedic.co.uk/cheap-generic-cialis.

We then went back to the stand to see if we could catch Claire coming in. Surprisingly difficult to pick some one out in the groups. Anyway, we saw her, going well and finishing strongly. We shouted like banshees but she was in the zone and never heard us. The trip back to town centre was straightforward and while there were crowds we didn’t have to queue for any transport.
I finished in 3.57 which I’m really pleased with which, because of the PBP and other commitments, I didn’t train as much as I should or wanted to. However, Neil and Claire did train well and were rewarded with brilliant PBs. Weather on the day was perfect; light breeze, slightly overcast at first then clear, cool if not cold as the day progressed. The race is not that big compared with some, 6,500 in the Marathon (Berlin is 32,000) and 8,500 in the Half. Overall between the events there were 23,300 participants of which 8,500 were foreigners from 64 countries. Britain was the biggest external contributor with 3,000 while France had 1,500 and Germany had 600. Results were out within a day including free downloadable photos and video clips of you taken at approximately each 5kms.

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In summary, an excellent event, exceptional value, very well organised, PB potential, lovely city, easily reached – highly recommended.

Neil Wrote: I echo Murdo’s comments; a great weekend was had. Whether beginner or seasoned marathoner I believe the Amsterdam Marathon is a winner because:

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  • It’s easy and cheap to get to
  • You can do it and add in some sightseeing before or after if you fancy
  • It’s held at a sensible time of year and at mid morning so to make conditions comfortable and not too early a rise
  • The circuit is more or less flat; no hills to negotiate (although according to my Garmin there was 480m of an ascent and 490m of a descent in total!)
  • The field is neither to big nor small, enabling you to run at your own pace but still feel you are taking part in a major event
  • The event’s infrastructure/set up is spot on (water stations, markers, marshalling, baggage drop off areas, etc.)
  • There is good local and international support around the route to cheer you on
  • The scenery is engaging – a complementary mixture of interesting rural settings and modern and old cityscapes
  • The start and finish at the Olympic Stadium is dramatic with supporters in the stands cheering and the music blaring as you cross the line
  • The online results service is very detailed and user friendly
  • You get a decent quality running vest for your efforts!

clip_image016Claire wrote:  When I found out (from Colin who runs at Westwood Health Club) that Amsterdam offered a half marathon in October I thought it would be a good goal and keep me running through the autumn.  As has been said, it is really easy to enter online for the race and made easy by the fact everything is so well organised.

On the Sunday Colin and I met up and went to watch some of the first marathon runners come in to the Olympic Stadium, which was a good way to get inspired for our own run.  We’d planned to wait for Nicola and Rona to come into the Stadium and see if we could cheer on Murdo and Neil but then we realised that time was tight since we’d still got to get our possessions handed in for safe keeping and work out exactly where the starting point was……then I managed to lose my mobile phone.  Once we set off on the race Colin was good at pacing and checking we weren’t going off too fast. About two miles in my tree allergy kicked in and so, at my suggestion (though wheezy gasps) Colin went on ahead and we agreed to meet up under the stairs in the Stadium Zuid.  En- route it was great to see lots of Amsterdamers of all ages out in support.  There were lots of kids wanting to do “high fives” so that gave me a good excuse to slow down, get my breath back and enjoy carrying on and taking in the sights.  As Murdo says the last lap in the Olympic Stadium was a great ending, really good surface to run on and great support from everyone in the Stadium (thanks to Rona, Nicola, Murdo and Neil for cheering even if I didn’t spot you exactly in the crowd).

Pictures of Colin and I enjoying a beer under the stairs at the Stadium Zuid to celebrate completing the half marathon (Colin came in under two hours) follow as soon as I get the film developed (now added – Ed).  Then Colin and I walked back up into the City Centre and met some runners from Kilmarnock Harriers who’d just completed their first marathon.  I was staying at the hotel used by some of the professional runners, who all seemed to be very small, thin and quiet – which might well be the secrets of their successes.  The next day I was feeling fine so I got an “Amsterdam Pass” and took in all the sights I wanted to see again: Van Gogh museum; canal boat tour; Richstag Museum and bought plenty of tulip bulbs and plants in the flower market.  I’d definitely do this race again – great City and well organised run.

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Some additional photos:

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