AMSTERDAM MARATHON – giving it my best shots

The start was only four minutes ago and already they're a couple of kilometres down the Amstelveenseweg.

The start was only four minutes ago and already they’re a couple of kilometres down the Amstelveenseweg.

The Amsterdam Marathon is one of the city’s great sporting events.

It’s a serious race for professionals, but it’s also open to any masochist who’d like to have a crack at running 42 kilometres through the Vondelpark, under the Rijksmuseum, past the canals, out along the Amstel River and back to the finish in the Olympic Stadium.

No, of course I wasn’t running it. You kidding? I was there with the camera.

The great thing about a city marathon is that anyone can try it. I’m never likely to get a chance to play a set of tennis against Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. But I’d be allowed to run a marathon with some of the world’s best. The fact that they’d complete the course in less than half of my time doesn’t matter two hoots, to them or to me.

So watching a marathon go past, we spectators can first marvel at what seem superhuman powers of the front runners, and then admire the courage of the ordinary people who are having a go. We think, ‘If I put in the effort and did some training, that could be me…some time. Sure, it’s a long way and Pheidippides, that Greek soldier who did it first, fell dead at the finish line but it’s not out of the question.’

See you at the finish, gentlemen.

See you at the finish, gentlemen.

The chasing bunch.

The chasing bunch.

I may regret doing this, but at least I'll have an excuse for not quite making it all the way.

I may regret doing this, but at least I’ll have an excuse for not quite making it all the way.

So will he. No wonder they're an endangered species.

So will he (or maybe she?) No wonder they’re an endangered species.

By the halfway point at the Amstel River, the field is stringing out.

By the halfway point at the Amstel River, the field is stringing out.

The strain is starting to show.

The strain is starting to show.

Fortunately there's a drinks station.

Fortunately there’s a drinks station coming up.

So, anybody thirsty yet?

So, anybody thirsty yet?

Do you mind if I take two banana pieces? I feel like I may need them both.

Do you mind if I take two banana pieces? I feel like I may need them both.

My friend Theo told me this was a good place to find a sponge for the kitchen.

My friend Theo told me this was a good place to pick up a sponge for the kitchen.

Well. maybe not that sponge, Theo.

Well, maybe not that sponge, Theo.

The atmosphere is brilliant and I don't see anybody who isn't happy to be out there.

The atmosphere is brilliant and I don’t see anybody who isn’t happy to be out there.

Into the final lap in Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium.

Into the final lap in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium.

Some should tell these Kenyans, "Congratulations on winning our marathon, but it's polite to look tired afterwards."

Some should tell these Kenyans, “Congratulations on winning our marathon, but it’s polite to look tired afterwards.”

All in all, inspiring stuff. Maybe next year, or the year after…?

8 Comments

Filed under Holland

8 responses to “AMSTERDAM MARATHON – giving it my best shots

  1. Oh Richard, you had me fooled there, from your title I was certain that you had taken part as a competitor!

  2. Please stick to cycling, Richard! We enjoy your blog too much to be willing to let you undertake such a risky endeavour. Considering your age and all…

    • Awwww, Teresa Maria, there were runners even older and a very few, dare I say, even a little portlier than me, though perhaps with less sense of self-preservation.

      However, it’s wise to know one’s limitations and nice to know blog readers want me to keep going!

  3. choum

    Hey !!

    Thanks for the photo of chicken man… I did not have any more energy for my camera….It’s a sublimate marathon… and a big moment for me .
    Still thank you

    Chicken man of France ! cocorico !!

  4. kris riley photography

    Great set of photos, I love going to marathons and taking pics, haven’t been in awhile. Love all the smiling competitors.

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