A Travellerspoint blog

Race day

Limmen - Amsterdam marathon

all seasons in one day 10 °C

The forecast for today is rain, wind and cold. We are woken at 5am by the rain and wind...we stay snuggled in bed until our alarm goes off at 6am.

Time for coffee then porridge with banana, another pre race favourite that's has worked for us. Kim is nervous. She has been nervous for the last week because we have done no running training. A few 5kms parkruns don't really count when your about to do 42.2km. She is worried about blisters on her feet (she has her hiking shoes and socks not running kit), then there's her knee which always gives her grief on long runs. She hopes they both hold up until at least 30kms which would make the last 12.2kms of walking more doable/bearable. She's also been hoping for dry weather as none of her long races have been in the wet. I don't think she'll get a dry day today.

Fed, waterered, and toilet visit successful, we cycle to Castricum train station 4kms away. There are no buses this early on Sunday morning. It's still dark, and cold, but it's dry. Lock Polly outside the station and hope she will still be here when we return tonight. Buy train tickets and get to the platform 15 minutes early. We would rather be early than late. The sun tries to rise on our train journey into Amsterdam. It does momentarily before the clouds close in and the heavens open. It's an easy transfer to the metro. Now we are surrounded by hundreds of runners - all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities. I think we are wearing the most amount of clothes though!

We alight in a throng of runners and walk to towards the Olympic Station where the race starts and ends. No marshals around so we ask a random person speaking English if they know where the bag drop is. They point us in the right direction. Strip down to our running gear - long leggings, t-shirt, merino long sleeve top, buff, merino beanie and gloves - handover our bag and head into the stadium. It's super crowded and doesn't feel very organised. Totally opposite to any other race we have done before.

We enter the stadium and the atmosphere is electric. We move straight to our wave area and within minutes we are moving towards the start line. Today's theme is "Run your masterpiece". Neither of us feel this will be our masterpiece due to the lack of running training. Finishing before the cut-off will a successful run for us. That means crossing the finish before the 6 hour cut off time or there will be no bling for us!
The countdown starts and then we are off just shy of 9:30am. The rain starts again just as we exit the stadium. Regardless we both feel good and start off faster than we planned as its crowded and we are carried along with the pack. The crowd of spectators is a few people deep and cheering everyone on. So much energy in the air. We run past canals and through the botanical gardens which provides a wider path. People have signs with "Tap here for energy" and "Pain is just bread in France". Kids have their hands out for high fives and we take every opportunity to high five them. Spectators read a runners name on their bib and shout it out as they pass. This continues right through the race.

First 10kms done and we are still feeling good. Then we hit the 20kms and Kim is starting to slow with a niggle in her left knee and blisters forming on both her big toes. We slow the pace to see if she can settle into a slower pace and help reduce the pain. We reach halfway... Kim needs to stop running as her knee is too painful. She thinks its muscular so no permanent damage if she continues with a fast walk / slow jog. It's cold, wet and windy but I can't get her running again. We have done 22kms in 2.5 hours. We have 20.2km left and 3.5 hours. We are now worried we will be cut off. Even if we don't it will be very very close. We both want to finish so need to dig deep.

We have never been this far back in the pack and we see the same faces as we pass and then they pass us. We develop a comradery, encouraging each to other on. What doesn't help is the 1/2 marathon runners start to come past at their 8km mark, there are thousands of them and they are impatient. We experience more jostling and a few bump into us as they try to get past. In Australia if someone nearly cuts you off they apologise but not once in this race. At one stage I have to walk behind Kim to ensure she is safe.

As we pass the 40kms sign Kim tries to run but cries out in pain. She looks at her watch knowing if we doesn't run soon we won't make it. Our shuffling pace quickens. At the 41km sign Kim starts to run. We are holding hands. She's crying in pain but she knows we are so close. It's raining again and cold but Kim is determined to finish. We run into the Olympic stadium and the atmosphere is pumping. We have our own marathon lane and people we are cheering us on. We are running, Kim is crying. The last 200 meters there are signs every 50 meters telling us how close we are to the end. We see the finish line and Kim gives it her all. We cross the line just before cut-off - 5 hours 59 minutes and 27 seconds. We did it! We hug and high five. We receive our medals, get a picture with the selfie frame and soak up the atmosphere. Kim can't stop crying!
It takes 30 minutes to wade through a crowd of runners and spectators before we can make it to bag pick up (again very poor planning). Change into clean tops and our puffer jackets and then hobble 1.5km to the metro - the one 300m away is is closed for works. Bad timing! At least the rain has stopped. We pass the Olympic hotel ...we wish we were staying there!

It takes us 1 hour 45 to get home - metro, then train, and finally cycle the last 4kms home. By the time we arrive at our Airbnb the sun is going down, we are freezing and hungry! Hope into a very hot shower and reflect on the day. I make spaghetti bolognese and Kim cracks open the prosecco. Bed by 8:30pm as stiffness takes hold!


Days cycled - 128
Rest days - 66 (No really a rest day but not a cycle day either)
Distance cycled - km (6284.6km)
Ascent - 0m (Total 54500m)
Descent - 0m (Total 54500m)
Money Spent - $200 AUD (Total $23895 AUD)

Posted by darrenhough1974 00:00 Archived in Netherlands

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You guys are unbelievable. Congratulations for finishing the marathon (by 33 seconds). Nothing like cutting it close.

by Rachel Holden

Reading this has made me cry! I'm in awe of your determination and I know Kim was afraid of a DNF, but YOU DID IT!! With no training!! Woo hoo! There's a champers on me when you get home! xx

by Rah

Reading this blog has made me a bit teary!
All I can say is you two are bloody amazing 🤩

by Louise

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