Amsterdam marathon - report

Decided to this one as it is listed in the top 10 world marathons. Got to Amsterdam at 06:30 on Saturday morning after spending the night on a cramped coach which left Loughbrough at 16:30 - I don't recommend this! Went and picked up my race no at the expo where nearly everyone seemed to be either from the UK or USA.

On Sunday the conditions were perfect. Little wind and around 10 degrees and partially cloudy. The start in the Olympic stadium was very efficient. I had put down a predicted time of 2:59 which had me in the first pen. All the pens were well marshalled and very spacious - I lined up at the back of the pen, not wanting to go out too fast. The plan was to try and run an even split, so I tagged along with a couple of runners who were pacing very accurately as we went though the first 20k's in around 4:10 to 4:17 pace. I hit halfway in 1:29:04, so all going well. The first half of the course starts in the city for a small loop but then goes out down along a canal for about 10k each way. Although pankake flat, this part of the course was very sparsly supported. After that it was back into the city, where there were bands and some support but certainly not large crowds. I started having trouble at around 25k when my legs started to seize up. I was also gasping for a drink. The aid stations were only every 5k and drinks were served in cups so to get enough fluid you had to stop and grab a few cups. The remaining km were the hardest I have run in a marathon. With my time aim gone, I found it hard to push myself. I started to walk at 32k but the people at the side of the road eventually encouraged mt to pick up the pace. Remaining km's were done at 6 min pace to bring me home in 3:20.

Course is definately a PB course. Flat and enough runners to have company but no congestion. The only bad thing was the aid stations, I would be interested to see if anyone else also thought there just were not enough of them.

My girlfriend did the 10k. Apparently she and a number of the other runners went completely off course as this was not marshalled at all! The winners came home in 20mins, as they took the wrong route!

What did everyone else think?



  • I don't know whether to say brilliant or hard luck. 3 hrs is a testing target for most runners (I can only dream of 3 hours), but 3:20 is still a fantastic time, even if it was outside of your target. So what, in your eyes, went wrong? Did your training and build up point to the possibility of sub 3? Or looking back, were you being too ambitious and what will you do differently next time?
    Respect is due though. Nice one.
  • Gareth - Was looking for your report yesterday. Bad luck on not beaking three hours - 3:20 is an excellent time but I'm sure you're a little disappointed (didn't you run 3:07 at Wolverhampton?). I know exactly how you felt on the "legs started to seize up" front, that was exactly my marathon experience - the things is once you feel it coming there not really anything you can do?

    As an aside - do you live in Loughborough as that's where I went to Uni?
  • Thanks FF & MartinH,

    Not too disapointed actually. Just writing it off as "a bad day". Thought I could crack it after the 3:07 at Wolverhampton on what was a much harder course. Think I was just tired before I got to the start line. Sure I will get it next year.

    Yes Martin I live in Loughborough and am doing my PhD at the University. You decided on Frankfurt yet?

  • Haven't yet decided on Frankfurt - I was 70-80% certain at the beginning of this week that I would do it but at the moment I am working like a lunatic so getting very tired plus there seems to be another cold bug going around.

    Nevertheless, barring disasters I think I'm in shape to do it so my work life at the moment is allowing a taper (although not a very relaxing one!).

    I'll keep you posted.
  • Ironman,
    CONGRATS, completing a marathon is always an admirable achievement. Sorry to hear that you didn't get the time you were aiming for but this distance, more than any other, lends itself to unpredictability on the day, which may add to the allure of the 26.2

    I'll be looking for a sub-3:00 myself at FLM, perhaps we can meet up and pace each other in London??
  • Hi Ironman. I also did Amsterdam and too found the water situation to be very bad. I was expecting bottles of water at every post not those pathetic little cups!! It was impossible to drink enough and dehydration kicked in at about halfway and I really suffered for the second half. It was my first marathon so don't have any other to compare with but my long training runs were a breeze compared to it. I can only conclude that the lack of water was the cause. Is it standard for water to be given in cups in marathons?

    Finishing in the Olympic stadium was great though, and having your name announced was a nice touch, wasn't it?
  • Drunk in a bar 4 months ago I committed to runnnin my first marathon - Amsterdam!
    I flew over from the UK Fri morning to stay at my friends in the Hague, our quiet evening meal turned into a crazy Italian with numerous Peach Shots then dancing and drinking Bacardi Breezers until 4:00am in the local night-club (I won't even mention the packet of Marlboro we polished off). The day after both myself and Gez had major regrets so decided 4 pints of lager would keep us foolishly committed to running the next day. We arrived at Amsterdam Central then took the tube to the Olympic Stadium (Registration and Start)it was on the tube I started to feel part of things, with the amount of shell-suits around I began to wonder if this was the Dutch Scouse Convention Gathering, sadly the lack of tashes and curly hair dismissed my theory.
    Registration was friendly, quick and convenient. We'd placed ourselves in the 4:00hr pen in the Olympic Stadium (although simply finishing was our real goal), at this point I started to feel like a gladiator ready for the off....then without warning a well hidden cannon fired a starting shot that nearly reduced the starting line up by half due to heart failure.
    We were off, and my lifelong dream of running a marathon had begun, leaving the stadium and running into the crowded streets I felt I was running on air, but within 5 mins we both were catching our first wind and friendly discussion slowly died down until our bodies started to realise this session was very different to the 6 hour drinking session on the Fri night. We soon got into our rhythm and things began to feel comfy. Finding a lovely female runner to run behind seemed to make running extremely easy, but when they continually ran ahead of us we decided this wasn't going to be our solution to finishing the marathon. We soon moved out of town and crowds dwindled, the odd Dutch man on a chair having a cigarette seemed to be the only support for at least 10km! Suddenly seeing people on the other side of the canal running in the opposite direction and an anonymous runner next to me saying "they are 10km ahead of us you know" had the same effect as dropping a tyre on my shoulders.We had followed the 4hr band on our wrists which shows the correct time you should hit at regular km marks, we were a few minutes ahead of schedule, this kept both our spirits high!
    The weather was good and we hit the turning point and head back down the river and to the half way mark. At this point Gez tired slightly but I was feeling remarkably good, so I decided to run ahead. I picked up the pace slightly and felt comfy running, I also started to pass people on a regular basis, which boosted my confidence and seemed to help me combat the pain. I hit the last 5km with crippling cramp in my left foot and calf but now we were back in the town centre and the crowd removed any pain that I had. The last Km felt fantastic with faster runners who'd finished earlier now joining in the crowd offering encouragement (something I will always do from now on). Finally I entered the Olympic Stadium and started to become slightly delirious: It was full to capacity, 70,000 people were shouting my name, encouraging me to run the last few hundred yards and take the Olympic Gold Medal (this first ever debutante to take Gold) and a brit at that! I ran to the line, breaking the current world record by 2secs and most importantly placing myself in pole position for sports personality of the year. I came out of my delirious state and hobbled over the line coughing and spluttering but still ecstatic with my accomplishment and the sense of achievement of fulfilling a lifetime achievement! (and doing it in 3hrs 42mins)
    Who says cigarettes and alcohol are bad for you ;)
  • I did the half and enjoyed the event immensely and also thought the event was well organised. Definitley a course designed for pbs with a good balance of enough runners for company and targets but not too many to crowd you out of the way. I really do not think that I would have got near the time I managed for my first ever half (85 mins 44 secs) if it had been at the Great North Run.

    I did not find the aid stations too much of a problem although I can see that this would be much more of an issue with the full marathon than the half.

    I for one am certainly intending to return and run the marathon next year.


  • I ran this one two years ago. I must agree with the water situation; although not unlike most races we take part in; I would have expected better from a big city marathon which boasts a quality international field.
    Maybe we are spoiled by our own London Marathon which offers water at every mile from two miles onwards and an isotonic drink at five mile intervals.
    Can any other forumites comment on the drinks situation in other major marathons?
  • I ran the half in Amsterdam - my first ever race (gulp!). Finished in 2hours 6 mins and am a very happy bunny!

    Have to agree with the comment on watering stations - definitely needed more in the last 5km, I was struggling here too and a drink would have really helped. And I didn't see anything other than water to drink at the finish - some AA would have been welcome.

    Course is definitely fast, and it seemed like most of the runners were 'serious' rather than 'fun' runners. Which helped to keep me going at a better pace than i might otherwise have relaxed into.

    Can't believe how lucky we were with the weather! I arrived on Sat and left on Tuesday and except for the race it chucked down with rain and was windy and cold the whole time!

    Supporters were a strange bunch - mostly seemed to be watching the freak show rather than encouraging, except for that fantastic woman with the whistle and blue sunglasses!

Sign In or Register to comment.