First thought: We made it! With negative splits and all that buzz. How cool! Friday evening we went to pick up our race packs and stood in a line for nearly one hour, but that saved us standing in an even longer queue on the race day itself. The crowd was insane, and people were picking up their packs till minutes before start.
I need to say I was super nervous. I changed my outfit like five times before I figured out what to run in (short pants? long pants? jacket? no jacket? T-shirt over the jacket?), as it was not warm at all, and the race took place in the late evening. In the end I decided for long pants and a t-shirt and it was a good decision; I wasn’t too cold or too warm. We chose to try for 65 minutes, because MRB’s best 10k before was about 1:08; we chose our pacer to follow (thank you for pacing us, unknown pacer! you were so friendly and did a great job!) and set off around 21:30 into the city of Amsterdam. We even managed to get into the official starting photo, which caught us just meters before the start line.
The route took us from the Olympic Stadium to the old town of Amsterdam and back, very nice route with plenty of water around, picturesque old buildings, and a park. It was great to discover Amsterdam from the running perspective, although we couldn’t enjoy the views all the time as it was very, very crowded and we had to make sure that we stay close to our pacer, we don’t step on any other people’s heels, and we tried to stick together as much as we could.
The course wasn’t too difficult, and the pace was quite easy for me. I was happy to maintain a nice running form throughout the whole course, and, for the first time, I ran the whole 10k without taking a walking break! Nice achievement for me. It surely does help when you have someone to follow, even if I wasn’t too fond of the crowd. There was only one downside, though, with the race route like it was planned, there were plenty of places where you had to step up/down a curb, and the curbs were not marked in any way; I would expect the organisers to put bright reflective tape on them, especially with such a crowded race which took place in the late evening, and finished after dark. Personally, I was super scared of tripping and falling (gladly I didn’t), so marking the curbs would be greatly appreciated. We overtook our pacers somewhere between km 7 and 8, and at the last km we put on our 5th gear and flew to the finish line, passing a lot of other runners. With the end time a minute faster than expected, and a PR for MRB by over 4 minutes, the race was great. We stayed a bit to watch the last runners finish their course, and I shed a tear of joy when the great gals, doing their best finished with the cheering of the crowd and a huge supporting escort from the race crew. It was great! Then we danced a bit in the afterparty and, finally, went to the hotel and celebrated with some drinks and some friends.
One interesting thing about the race was that there were no bibs, and no “real” medals. We got shoe tags which counted as bibs and had chips in them, and as a finisher medal everyone got a silver bracelet in the shape inspired by the channels surrounding the old town of Amsterdam.
Worn with pride!
#UPDATE as of May 27th. The race was great, and the experience was wonderful. However, I really do not like how the post-race experience is handled. Nike published a total of 10 pictures from the whole race, and a “personalised video” which came out bugged and featuring other people. I managed to find my own video – there was 1 low quality picture of me there. I am very sad and disappointed on the post-race experience from this NIke race. The idea behind having a personalised video is cool, but in practice it turned out to be very poor. The lack of photographs for anyone except of the chosen few is disheartening. I hope Nike will take from this lesson and organise it better next year.