I was incredibly nervous and anxious about moving to London for 4 months. I wanted something to distract myself. I loved my first visit to Amsterdam with Lior in January, and when I saw that the TCS Amsterdam Marathon was shortly after we arrived and they offered an 8K option, I jumped at the opportunity to register. I had briefly considered registering for the half marathon, but didn’t think my fitness would be up for it after running the Royal Parks Half just one week prior. I’m grateful for Past Sarah’s foresight, because while I know I could run another half marathon with the short turnover, I prefer to enjoy the experience and not be exhausted afterwards.
It’s relatively common for marathons to also include shorter distances (and I’ve participated in a few, including the Dead Sea Half Marathon, Tel Aviv Half Marathon, and Jerusalem). This is fun, since you get to ride the coattails of the excitement from the marathon, and it means more people get to enjoy the race experience.
Price: 17.10 euro, or $18.85. This price includes a medal, but not a t-shirt. The shirt cost an extra 25 euro…and since I don’t always like the race shirts and have enough laying around…I decided to pass. The Egmond Kwart Marathon also charged the same extra fee for their shirt (which looked nice but not that nice), and that race had cost 19 euro. Given the fact that this is part of a much larger event and held in a larger city, I think the value for money is better. Price: A, but lame that the shirt costs more than the entry fee!
Website: The website was in English and had plenty of info. Website: A
Publicity: The Facebook page occasionally posted info, and I received a few emails with information…including which metro/subway stations to take to the event on race day. This was my main concern, as I didn’t want to hit marathon-related road closures. Publicity: A+
Transportation to the race: Subway/metro! I left my airbnb just before 9 and arrived to my start corral about 40 minutes before the race began. My morning was very relaxed and I wish all race mornings were this calm!
Weather: Low 50s and overcast…good for the marathoners, but I wouldn’t have minded if it was a bit warmer!
Time: My wave of the 8K started at 10:18am. I enjoyed not having an early wakeup!
Start/finish area: The area was pretty festive and there were several food trucks, as well as plenty of port o potties.
Packet pick-up: While I had plenty of time to pick up my bib prior to the race (and since I wasn’t getting a shirt, I wouldn’t need to deal with bag check), I actually wanted to check out the race expo. Normally I hate large, hectic, crowded places, but I always prefer to collect my bib in advance, to prevent race-day hiccups. In addition, Mizuno is the race sponsor and I run in Mizuno running shoes, so I wanted to see if they would have anything worthwhile at the expo. In the end, I bought nothing, because my current shoe model would have set me back €140, which is ridiculous. There’s a running store in London that offers the shoes for cheaper PLUS a £20 discount for donating an old pair of shoes. I’m planning to take advantage of that deal next month, assuming I put enough miles in my current shoes during this time.
Leaving my calling card at the expo #branding
I’ve seen bigger and better expos, but I was able to go through quickly and there was no line for the bathroom, so I consider this a successful expo.
The Mizuno clog slippers were amazing and if I already didn’t have amazing slippers, I might have bought them.
Race shirt: N/A I saw the shirts at the expo and while they looked nice, they were definitely not worth €25.
What I wore: t-shirt, leggings…mostly for the commute to/from, if I was staying closer to the race or checking a bag, I would have opted for shorts.
Bag Drop: Since the weather was decent, I opted to forgo the bag check.
Course: The course skipped the inner canal rings–arguably what Amsterdam is most famous for. This makes sense, as the streets are very narrow. It would be a nightmare for thousands of people to try and run there. Instead, the highlights of the course are Museumsplein, with the iconic Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, and others, Vondelpark, and the Olympic Stadium, where the race ends. Just before entering the stadium, runners pass the famous iamsterdam sign, which was moved from Museumsplein due to overcrowding from tourists. The ending is pretty epic, and that and running through the Rijksmuseum were definitely the highlights of the course!
The famous sign. It was fun to see it on the course!
Unfortunately, I was placed in the last corral, and I spent the entire race passing people. Not a fan! Next time, I’d make sure to start near the front. It was frustrating because I felt AMAZING today and could have run faster than 44:31 if I had more room to move on the course.
The route was very flat and great for PRs. There were a decent number of people cheering, including someone holding my favorite race sign, “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear!” Always gets a laugh!
Water stations: Despite only one being listed (around 5km), there was another somewhere around 2km. I ended up using neither because I felt great. Since the race was relatively short and it was cool/overcast, this worked great. I made sure to drink plenty of water afterwards.
Bathrooms: There were port o potties and those weird public urinals. I luckily didn’t need the bathroom during the race, so I didn’t pay attention to the port o potties (instead using one after the race, just outside the start/finish village that miraculously still had plenty of toilet paper). Bathrooms: A+
Pictures: to come!
Medal: The 8K medal is a smaller version of the half marathon and full marathon. In past years it was a bit basic, and this year they spiffed it up a bit and included the Rijksmuseum on the medal. I was excited to get it, but think that if someone was running their first race or is really into race bling, it could be a bit underwhelming.
I absolutely loved this race (minus the course congestion)! It helps that I also think Amsterdam is a beautiful city. I had a great race, and sincerely hope that I can return in the future!