Nicola Swann writes…
A week after Royal Parks Half, we set alarms for 3.30pm on Saturday morning to fly to Amsterdam. We were at the hotel before 10am and then walked down to the Marathon Expo so I could collect my race number. I did have slight Marathon envy but also happily collected my half marathon number and headed back to the hotel to secure it in my bag before heading into the city to explore.
After last weeks successful pre-race day preparation of walking miles round a capital city, I decided to repeat this and therefore by the time we returned to the hotel I had walked about 13 miles and on the back of the very early start was rather tired!
The hotel was offering a pre-race pasta option for tea, so we decided to eat in and I went for that and then very soon headed for bed. As the race wasn’t until the afternoon, I was able to treat myself to a lie in. By 9am I was awake but hadn’t actually got up and went into slight panic mode when I heard people shouting and cheering. On looking out of the window I realised that the marathon route went right past the hotel.
We had a late breakfast which we ate whilst watching the runners go by and then started to head to the start. It was a showery day and not particularly warm so the 25 min walk in shorts didn’t feel the best. As the race started just outside the Olympic Stadium, Phil was able to stay with me until I had to enter the pen. At 1.15pm I dumped my coat on him and headed in, chatting to another English lady that I had met in the loo queue for my nervous wee.
We were gradually herded forwards and eventually we were off. I can’t really tell you where the route went. Some of it seemed like the back streets of Amsterdam but at about 8 miles we emerged back into the city just as there was a massive downpour. It was short lived and now I was enjoying the views of the city. The final 4km went through a park before coming back out onto the road to come round the corner and heading into the Olympic Stadium. I always get quite emotional at things like this. As I am so far away from ever being a professional athlete, getting the opportunity to do that is something quite special.
Overall, it was a huge but fantastic and well organised race and a great experience. I have no idea how they manage to coordinate a Marathon, Half Marathon and an 8km race all on the same day but they do. I felt good all the way round and enjoyed being able to ‘sightsee’ whilst running in a different European city and taking my Otley vest on tour. And you never know, maybe in the future I will return to do the Marathon!
Flying back late Sunday evening meant I was shattered for work on Monday but it shows that you can do a European race in a weekend.
1st – Iskander Yadgarov – 1:05:23
Ist female – Kiara Nahen – 1:13:50
Me – 10471 – 2:05:47 (out of 1663) and 3 minutes quicker than last week!