My friend Andre Schaefer wrote and invited me to run the Amsterdam Marathon with him. Even though I hadn't been running too much I decided to go for it and in the preceding weeks managed to do one 20 miler without too much pain so figured I was ready. I arrived on Friday 13 October and Andre met me at the airport. We drove straight to the expo near the Olympic Stadium to pick up our racing bibs. We then went to check into my hotel near Vondelpark. Andre was staying out near the airport.
On Saturday morning I went for a short run in Vondelpark then later went with Andre and his girlfriend, Miriam, for a two hour ride around the city. This is a great way to get around and see the city.
Sunday was the marathon. Andre met me at the hotel and we grabed a cab around the corner for the 3 mile drive to the stadium. Instead of going into the stadium we went over to the sport hall where we could stay warm. It was a mob scene there but we managed to get into the upper level and had plenty of room to stretch then it was back to the stadium. Andre managed to work his way through the crowd to a place where they were handing out thin plastic ponchos. He got one for me too. There were officials giving speeches which no one was listening to and they had two big screen TVs set up but they faced the stands so very few runners could even see them.
After the start it took about 6 minutes to get to the starting line. The first part of the marathon is a short loop north and around through Vondelpark then back for another lap around the track in the Olympic Stadium. Then the route heads east and out along the south banks for the Amstel River adjacent to green fields where cows, sheep, and horses graze. Eventually you cross a bridge to the north side and return to the city. After a brief tour of a industrial area we return to the center of the city and run the cobbled streets crossing numerous canals and another tour of Vondelpark and after that the Olympic Stadium.
Somewhere near where we run along the Amstel River, I got ahead of Andre. Later near the 30km point as I got back into the city I met up with a guy named Adam Walker who was running with his girlfriend (didn't get her name) and we struck up a conversation. Adam wasn't a marathoner but was into multi day adventure racing so was in good shape. He was basically there to help his girlfriend. They were both over from England. He was nice enough to take a few pictures of me during the marathons and at the finish (I didn't run with my camera this time.) Thanks Adam.
In addition to running the marathon I visited the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt’s Huis, Anne Frank’s Huis, the foam (Foam_Fotografiemuseum) where we saw the The Kate Show, and later we listened to the Lou Donaldson Quartet featuring Dr. Lonnie Smith (found a link to some photos from the concert we attended) at the famous Bimhuis concert hall. Also found a link to a video on You Tube
Although it was a short trip the weather was perfect cool and no rain.