Once again, due to work and additional side projects, the Running Alien is a bit late with his report of the Halve van Haarlem 2015. Anyway… I guess it’s better late than never! So without further delay let’s get to it!
Although I’m living in Haarlem for more than 1 year, last year I didn’t run this race due to preparations for Amsterdam Marathon. So this year I had no excuse: I had to run a first race in my “adoptive home town” (after all I’ve missed the Grachtenloop twice as well 🙁 ).
After getting lost on Friday evening while trying to get my bib number from the north side of Haarlem (why they’ve decided not to distribute the bib numbers closer to the city centre and the race start/finish location as most races do, beats me) and failing to understand 100% the route of the race (the route of the race is displayed in a simple image which can’t be zoomed instead of using a proper mapping solution like afstandmeten.nl, Garmin, Strava etc), on Sunday I left home thinking about running a 1:32 -1:33 half marathon and hoping to enjoy the beautiful weather.
Not to think that I only like to complain, I have to thank the organizers for putting the race at a normal hour (13:45) – I love being able to have a relaxed breakfast and to enjoy my coffee before a race 🙂
I get to Grote Markt around 13:00, take some photos, try to soak in the atmosphere, cheer for some runners finishing the 10k race and go to drop by backpack and get ready for my start. Despite the crowd I meet Alexey and we chat a bit… warm up, spotting Jasja, meeting Alexey again – yeah, it’s a small world despite some 1200 runners ready for the half marathon 🙂
13:45 and START! I started again from the second half of the pack so I need to take over quite fast if I want to maintain my desired pace.
The first few hundred meters are run on narrow streets and there are plenty of guys in “relaxed mode” in front of me which are making me run in zig-zag. Don’t get me wrong: relaxed mode is perfectly fine, but when you’re listening to music and you’re not much aware about what’s happening around you it’s not good for other runners as well – at Zevenheuvelenloop last year they had sign asking slow runners to run on one side of the road. NOTE TO SELF: next time try to get a better starting place!
Until the 5th km we run through various streets of Haarlem and Overveen and we have quite a few turns… but as we reach Orangerie Elswout I feel like the fish in the water: this is my playground! I’ve ran this way so many times that I could probably do it with my eyes closed (almost).
We get to the dunes and despite some hills I keep pushing and continue to over take other runners. As I pass the half way of the race I realize I’m ahead of my time and I could well target a new Personal Best as most of the remaining course is “down hill”.
Back at Kraantje Lek and I feel that most of the hard work is behind me… we’re back in Overveen and there are once again crowds of people cheering for everybody – that’s another reason why I love running in The Netherlands!
We’re back in Haarlem and I’m close to a new PB… I’m almost reaching the finish line and I spot my paparazzi! Time to show my happiness!
I’ve done it: 1:27:40 and a new Personal Best for half marathon! 44th out of 1196 runners..
Now it’s time to celebrate… as planned on Strava, Haarlem Half Marathon was a good occasion for a first real life meeting of the Run Haarlem Strava group.
Below are some pictures taken during the Haarlem Half Marathon event!
To end this, Haarlem Half Marathon was an excellent event which I’ve really enjoyed from many points of view: excellent overall organization (despite my complaints from the start of the article – there’s always place for improving), great weather, new personal best and an offline meeting with Run Haarlem Strava group! I’ll surely be back for more!
Until next time, happy running!