Zwolle Half Marathon Festival
The Zwolle half marathon was recommended to me last year by friends in the Bergse Runners Club. Its a fun race – bands all the way round and the elite flying past you at certain stages! Last year I ran most of the way with Remco before I encouraged him to leave me for a better time. This year we agreed to run again together. Before the race I looked up our times for 2010 – Remco was 1,46 and I was 1,48. Wow – to beat this we would need to go at an average pace below 5 mins per klm.
Ummm… I have the feeling that, since Paris, I have been slower. I have been concentrating on strengthening my legs – more cycling, squats and core training in the gym. It still does not seem to be the same as clocking up the klms.
We agreed that the goal was to really run a steady pace then either keep this up or add some speed in the last round. We actually talked about starting at a 5,30 pace. I had the Runkeeper with me and Remco also has a gadget for speed/ pace etc.
The forecast was rain.
We assembled in the wind and were dampened by a light shower just before the start. We started. The start is always a bit of a scramble as we weave our way round, through a tunnel and a little narrow bit! We found our pace – it was very busy – 5,20 according to Remco. It felt good and steady. The weather cleared up and there was even blue sky!
We had run the “tail” and were now starting on the first of the three rounds of the city centre. I remember last year being totally bewildered as I had no idea where we were going. The parcour seemed strangely familiar and comfortable. Its a fairly flat course with quite a bit of water as we run round the city “grachten” and then through the city centre.
We were pacing 5,15 and feeling very comfortable. Almost lazy BUT I SO wanted NOT to dissolve in the last part of the race. There is a nasty bridge about half way round but I had forgotten about the slight incline before the bridge. I was rather disappointed as I thought we were already at the bridge – just a little further to go.
We came back into the centre of the city. It was almost as if the warmth of the crowd engulfed us! We could see on the screen that winners were flying round. There was much speculation as there was hope that Wilson Kipsang, one of the many Kenyans in the race, would run in under 1 hour. This would be a first time under the hour at Zwolle.
Almost at the same time as the previous year – at the bridge – we heard the deep thud thud thud of the motorbike leading the men, whistles and the bikes also accompanying the elite came by us closely followed by the runners. I always find that its an amazing feeling to be so close to what is so possible by the human body.
The ladies seemed to somewhat behind (although were only 8 mins behind the men!) and took us all on the city centre. It was rather crowded and I am sure it not their favourite race.
We could not believe how constant we were – 5,15/5,14 with little effort. We had a couple of light showers just at the time when it was becoming rather warm. The crowd was great and the music placed just at the areas were it was needed – e.g. at the top of the bridge – although I am not sure if the thud thud thud was THAT positive – I prefered the music of the later rounds that were rather more jolly.
As we started the last round the winners were being presented on the podium!
The last round started to bite. It seemed a little colder and it felt that we were going faster. Alas, not according to my lady. Just before the bridge we decided – keep the pace – faster is not realistic. We focused on the bridge. It started to rain. It bucketed down. It did not matter so much in terms of body temperature BUT my feet were trudging through puddles and becoming very heavy.
We came into the city again. The frustrating this is the finish is round a corner so you don’t actually see it until the last moment. We did manage a sprint at the end and ran over the line together! Time 1,51 so, indeed, time to make up🙂 Kipsang ran it in 1 hour 49 seconds – he would not have had the rain that we did!
To get an idea of the atmosphere, Joost put together a video of the event: